Eat your greens from the Forest Garden Greenery!

Close up from above of purple sprouting broccoli leaves

There are perennial alternatives to greens like this purple sprouting broccoli

I have neglected my greens in the forest garden, so I’m making them a Greenery, a place for perennial alternatives to cabbage and spinach.

My first piece of gardening advice is to grow something beautiful & edible near your house. All plants thrive on attention and the promise of a harvest will keep you focussed.

Obviously, I don’t follow my own advice, which is why there is a dearth of winter green vegetables at Forest Garden Wales this year. I did plant some Asturian Tree Cabbage and Nine Star Broccoli which have grown slowly out of neglect, and the other perennials Good King Henry, mallow and sorrel all die back at this time of year.

Ragged looking tree cabbage

Poor Asturian Tree Cabbage, suffering from intense neglect and the attention of caterpillars

Part of the problem is that I planted the greens too far away from the house, over & beyond a windbreak hedge. The lack of attention combined with severe drought resulted in stunted growth.

To remedy the situation, and enthused by Alison Tinsdale of Backyard Larder and Gayla Trail of You Grow Girl, I am moving the Predator Strip, which lives by the raised beds, around the corner and replacing it with an extended Greenery, a place to grow all-year-round greens.

Yellow line showing proposed extension to area for new green veg bed

Extended site for Greenery, next to raised beds & replacing the Predator Strip.

Here is my plant list for the Greenery:

  • Swiss Chard – perennial with care, keep it from flowering & protect from hard frost
  • Nine Star Broccoli – small white broccoli heads, keep fed & watered
  • Asturian Tree Cabbage – will last for 2 years or more, mild, bright green leaves
  • Good King Henry – fantastic spinach substitute, dies down in winter, big taproot. Plus you can eat the flower heads and seeds
  • Daubenton Kale – I’m coming round to kale, slowly. Keen to grow this form.
  • Broad Leafed Sorrel – has a lemony zing, early into leaf. I use it to add citrusy flavour to curries & stews
  • Turkish Rocket
  • Common Mallow – salad plant, edible flowers, also used to thicken soups & stews
  • Siberian Purslane - will be growing this as ground cover for the Greenery, chokka full of vitamins

If I can’t wait for seed to grow, I buy my perennial plants from Backyard Larder, else I buy seed from Agroforestry Research Trust and Real Seeds.

Please do follow up with your perennial green vegetable recommendations on Twitter @NatureWorksGdn, I’m keen to extend the range of plants as well as the growing season 🙂.