If you are homesteading, are planning to homestead, or have any intention of every homesteading, then you need this book. If you are even an urban or suburban resident, and you have the slightest interest in gardening, you need this book. If you have no interest in gardening, but you plan on eating in the future, you really ought to get this book. Toensmeier has done a great service to the right-thinking homesteader by putting together this volume, and I would guess that this is the first book of its kind - covering this topic - ever produced. I know of books on edible plants, books on permaculture, books on perennial fruits and trees and herbs, etc., but I know of no other book that has all the information you could want on over 100 perennial vegetables - many of which can be grown by you wherever you live.
Now, I have written about this at some length, and many of you know of my philosophy on the topic. In a recent article that I wrote before I even knew that Toensmeier's book existed - part 11 of the Off-Grid Living for Agrarians series - I discussed permaculture and the necessity of seeking out and utilizing perennial crops as opposed to putting all our eggs in the basket of the annual garden and annual seed crops. I mentioned how I believed the most primitive societies (including Biblical Israel) focused on perennial crops and only augmented their perennial food supply with some annual seed crops. I talked about how I believe that a successful off-grid homestead ought to return to the idea and philosophy of perennially growing food supplies. Well, lo and behold the book to help us get to where we need to be on this topic is now available (published just this last year).
I will be discussing this topic more in a future part of the Off-Grid Living series, but I wanted to give you all the opportunity to purchase this book and read through it as soon as possible here during the planting season. I know the book is not cheap ($35 in most places, but about $23 on Amazon), but I believe it is a worthwhile addition to your library, and will rank up there with Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living as one of the most used and worn out books you own.
I also want to encourage those of you who read this blog and my other Agrarian sites who have a product or some literature like this that you think will be helpful to our audience. I do not now accept any advertising or do any paid product endorsements. However, I do always hype what I think works and is useful to my readers. In the past I have had merchants, suppliers, inventors, etc. send me free samples of their wares. If I think they are useful or helpful or that people ought to consider buying or owning them, I am more than willing to give my opinion on the product here and on my other sites. So feel free to send me free stuff! Back in '99 one of the guys from the Global Sun Oven company gave me a sun oven with no strings attached, except that if I used it and liked it, I would tell other people about it. Well, I would conservatively estimate that in the last 9 years I have personally been responsible for the sale of more than 100 sun ovens. Likewise, If my readers have an ounce of sense, a desire to succeed at homesteading, and $23... I would bet that most of them will be purchasing Eric Toensmeier's fine book. I do not know Eric and was not paid a cent to give my endorsement to the book.
Here is the publishers blurb on Perennial Vegetables:
This morning Perennial Vegetables was ranked 21,923 in books on Amazon (a very, very good rating). I will check back today and tomorrow to see if we pushed it up any.
The garden that never stops giving.
There is a fantastic array of vegetables you can grow in your garden, and not all of them are annuals. In Perennial Vegetables the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, lowmaintenance source of food.
Imagine growing vegetables that require just about the same amount of care as the flowers in your perennial beds and borders—no annual tilling and planting. They thrive and produce abundant and nutritious crops throughout the season. It sounds too good to be true, but in Perennial Vegetables author and plant specialist Eric Toensmeier (Edible Forest Gardens) introduces gardeners to a world of little-known and wholly underappreciated plants. Ranging beyond the usual suspects (asparagus, rhubarb, and artichoke) to include such “minor” crops as ground cherry and ramps (both have found their way onto exclusive restaurant menus) and the much sought-after, antioxidant-rich wolfberry (also known as goji berries), Toensmeier explains how to raise, tend, harvest, and cook with plants that yield great crops and satisfaction.
Perennial vegetables are perfect as part of an edible landscape plan or permaculture garden. Profiling more than a hundred species, with dozens of color photographs and illustrations, and filled with valuable growing tips, recipes, and resources, Perennial Vegetables is a groundbreaking and ground-healing book that will open the eyes of gardeners everywhere to the exciting world of edible perennials.