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PICK OF THE PERENNIALS

You may be surprised by the variety of what’s available for eating. There are perennials to suit every garden, with luscious leaves, hardy brassicas, edible blooms and onion-family delights to fill your larder. Here are some recommendations to get you started.

LUSCIOUS LEAVES

SORREL: The lemony leaves of sorrel add a zing to the first salads of the year. Enjoy the young leaves fresh or cook them up like spinach. Sorrel is exceptionally hardy and can even put up with a little shade. Start it off from seed then plant them out about 30cm (12in) apart.

CHICORY: You can eat every part, from roots to flowers. The leaves make for a welcome sight at the start of spring, while the powder-blue flowers can be used as an attractive garnish to summer salads – as well as pulling in the bees. Once established, lift a few of the chunky taproots in winter to force indoors, in the dark, to produce creamy chicons.

DAUBENTON’S KALE: Just like traditional kale – only bigger, hardier and even more nutritious! This perennial kale was a staple of the Victorian cottage garden, providing pickings of tender shoots all winter long. There’s a variegated form that wouldn’t look out of place within an ornamental border.

SEA KALE: Native to our seashores, sea kale is a wild relative of the cabbage. It’s often found just above the high tide mark, where it grips on with stoic tenacity. In the garden it prefers a deep, fertile, well-drained soil, though given its rugged heritage it will perform pretty well even in relatively impoverished soils. Like rhubarb, it can be forced in spring to produce crisp, tender shoots, or left to grow on for its cabbage-like leaves.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

This month: - Win garden goodies - Great giveaways worth over £1412 - Wiggle Wonders - how worms can boost your harvest - Free parsnip and pepper seeds + claim free currant duo - Pick of the crops - 12 must-grow treats from rasberries to leeks - New season new seeds - latest news on varieties from 2018 - Dare to be different with winter melons & medlars - Plant your own beauty products - 3-pages garlic growing guide - Copositing kit tried & tested - Delicious seasonal recipes