Eric Toensmeier calls himself a "socially engaged plant geek". He has spent much of his adult life exploring edible and otherwise useful plants and how they can be used in designed ecosystems. He is the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens.
Part of the allure of perennial gardening is the fact that a gardener can plant something once and enjoy it for several years, a benefit that has rarely been extended to vegetable gardeners. Save for such stalwarts as asparagus and rhubarb, most edible crops can be used only annually. Thanks to Toensmeier, gardeners need no longer be frustrated by such limitations. From air potatoes to water celery, Turkish rocket to Malabar gourd, there are more than 100 new species of edible plants. After addressing such cultural basics as site selection and preparation, Toensmeier explains why each plant is an excellent perennial vegetable crop. Now that such items are making their way onto trendy restaurant menus and health-store shelves, Toensmeier's groundbreaking guide is destined to become the bible for this new class of edible gardening.
"This book is itself a perennial polyculture of multipurpose plants. Toensmeier's adventurous yet sober palate blends with his observant eye and plant-geek mind to yield a varied harvest that should produce for years to come. He is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide for explorations of this largely unmapped territory. Let's hope gardeners everywhere follow his lead and join the fun!"--Dave Jacke, coauthor Edible Forest Gardens
"Eric Toensmeier has comprehensively filled a huge gap in the sustainable landscape. Perennial Vegetables lets you put away your tiller, and covers everything you need to grow, harvest, and eat vegetables and greens that will keep coming back year after year."--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden
"Toensmeier's knowledge of edible plants is impressive and inspiring. His excitement for a sustainable landscape helps us focus away from buying food to harvesting it naturally. Perennial Vegetables offers an excellent range of edible plants for long-term cultivation and enjoyment."--Ellen Ecker Ogden, co-founder of The Cook's Garden seed catalog, author of From the Cook's Garden
"Growing perennial vegetables is a true pleasure. This fine book gives the knowledge to successfully add variety to both the garden and the table while also enhancing the home environment."--Miranda Smith, author of The Plant Propagator's Bible and Complete Home Gardening
"That there are more perennial vegetables than asparagus is no surprise, but that there are more than 100 species we North American gardeners can choose from is news. Toensmeier's Perennial Vegetables, the first comprehensive guide to growing them, will have all of us reexamining our plans for next year's vegetable plot." --Karan Davis Cutler, author of Burpee--The Complete Flower Garden