Tag Archive perennialising annuals


Taking Cuttings from Cabbage

Cloned cabbageI am posting this article to collect in one place all the information I have on taking cuttings (or cloning) the humble cabbage. It is a physical experiment I am conducting based on a sentence in a permaculture book. That book said that once you had cut the head of a cabbage you could wait for smaller ones to grow then replant them in the soil for new cabbages. This seems a handy technique for those of us who would rather spend nothing than waste good money on seed. If you add up the price of all the seed packets you buy each year it really adds up. And for us sustainability freaks, we really want to beat the greengrocer. Read More


Leek baby bulbs (bulblets), Japanese Bunching Onions dividing and White Clover sending out runners

I just thought I would share with you some of the things I have learnt recently about some of the plants I grow. Because I grow in a perennial fashion (either the plants are perennial or I extend their lifespan in ways such as taking cuttings or preventing them from flowering) I get to see the plants full behaviour over a longer period. Many conventional vegetable gardeners grow annuals from seed and then eat them, freeing the land up often very quickly for a new crop. This succession of plants is intensive and grows a lot of food, but my style of vegetable gardening is less intensive, less hard work, slower and more forgiving to the environment. The slowness allows me to see such things as the full lifespan of such things as the biennial leek. Read More


Vegetative Propagation of Cabbages (Taking Cuttings) [updated]

IMAG0791 copyAs reported previously I have put a lot of effort into reproducing my plants without using seeds. Seeds are uncertain, tricky and prone to being wiped out by slugs and damping off. They also cost money and time. With such things as broccoli and kale I can simply pull off a sprout from the main stalk and bung it in some compost. Cabbages don’t have sprouts like this but will grow sprouts if you cut the main head off. This is well known as a technique to get a second harvest but not as a means of taking cuttings. Read More


No really, last harvest of squashes – properly this time

SquashesLike two years ago, my squashes have been hiding from me. Tonight I have added three new crown princes (the whitish ones) and one small acorn from the allotment. Compare this to the harvest photo I put up a couple of weeks ago. Two years ago my neighbour knocked on the door bearing 2 giant marrows, saying that those were mine and did I want them back. It’s like an easter egg hunt in my back garden most years. The table in the pics is a coffee table and I tried lifting it, bearing in mind that I was trying not to scatter them all over the living room, I found it a struggle to lift. The colours are also changing, compare with the photo before, a lot of the green squashes are going pumpkin orange, which is cool. Read More


Leek vegetative propagation, bulblets (clones).

Leek bulblets at base of leek flower stalkI’ve been told that if you are collecting seed from leeks and the seed hasn’t gone black by now (21st September) then drastic action is required. So I’ve cut the seed heads, put them in bags and taken them home. Collecting the seeds was not the only sustainable technique i did with the leeks today, i also dug them up looking for bulblets. Read More


Vegetative propagation of annuals

Perennial Vegetables by Martin Crawford (along with Forest Gardening by the same) is my bible. All the pages are falling out because I read it so often. I agree with the basic premise of it: that annual vegetables are hard work and suck the ground dry of nutrients, and that perennial vegetables give year on year. I don’t agree that all of the vegetables included in his books are actually that edible. The idea is that you replace all your annual veg with perennial versions – so replace carrots with scorzonera, ragged jack kale with daubenton kale, onions with shallots and peas with perennial sweet peas. Unfortunately eating sweet peas (lathyrus) will paralyze your legs if you eat them as a staple for weeks on end. So…bog standard annual green peas it is then!. Read More

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