My son and I are getting into organic gardening and want to plant some perennial vegetables like ground nut and sunchokes, among a few. Do you know where we can get some starts of perrenial vegetables and herbs here in Kentucky? We have looked online but most places are in other states and we want to keep our money local if we can.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Cricket in Kentucky: Planting perennial vegetables and herbs is a great way to provide your family and maybe some lucky friends with fresh, local food; and it is fun too! Here in Kentucky, asparagus, rhubarb, garlic, Greek oregano, thyme (Thymus vulgaris), and rosemary (Rosmarinus officionalis ‘Arp’) are all considered perennial edibles. The herbs can be a bit tricky since there are many nonperennial varieties of mainly rosemary and thyme, so just be sure to purchase perennial varieties. Perennial fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, figs, apples, pears, and pawpaws may be a thought for next year. As for finding a local source for some of these edibles I would start at your local garden centers, or farmers’ markets are always a great place to find local starts. The agriculture/horticulture agent(s) at the Harrison County Extension Office may have suggestions for local options as well. You can visit their Web site at http://harrison.ca.uky.edu. Peanuts are considered ground nuts but all other nuts are actually tree nuts and many of them are hardy for us. If you wanted to grow tree nuts, Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery is located in Upton, KY, and they would be a localish, reliable source: www.nolinnursery.com. You might even ask your gardening friends if they have any in their gardens that they could divide for you. Make sure your new edible garden receives plenty of sunshine and that the soil is nutrient-rich and drains reasonably well. If you would like more information on growing edibles in Kentucky you can visit www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id128/id128.pdf. Other sources for organic seed options are Baker Creek and Renee’s Garden. Have fun!