Perennials: 5 Reasons They Are a Friend to the Earth and You

Posted by Courtney Parker, PhD on

At Grant Wallace Farm, we think the value of perennials -- in permaculture landscapes, in gardens, as climate change mitigating strategies, and, just in general -- has not gotten enough hype.

Allow us to help amend that...

Below is a succinct list of: 5 Reasons Perennials Are a Friend to the Earth and You

1) If your interest has carried you this far, hopefully we don't have to explain the importance of pollinators -- in your garden, to local and global food supply chains, and again, just in general. Those of you with bee allergies are off the hook. Everyone else, consider trying perennials such as hydrangeas or daisies in your own garden. The pollinators love 'em. (Watch for updates on our website for new perennial stock like Red Clover -- pictured in the botanical image above).

2) Perennials are good for the climate. Why? Well, it has a lot to do with the length of their roots. They have the longest root systems, which provide them more stability amid weather shifts and changing seasons. These longer roots also allow them to hold onto more carbon, and to literally keep it in the ground -- (and thus, not in the atmosphere). The formal process where a plant absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and re-distributes it in the soil is called, 'carbon sequestration' -- and, perennials have this DOWN.

3) They also make great cover crops to refortify farm land during off seasons or crop rotation periods. Red Clover is what is known as a 'short-lived perennial'. Although, it dies back after one growing season, it leaves the ground replenished with water and carbon.

4) There are reasons to love perennials that we haven't even thought of, yet. This is exemplified by more recent initiatives to create domesticated annual / perennial hybrids which can give crops, like wheat, longer root systems, thus making them more sustainable -- while also reducing the carbon footprint of their cultivation.

5) We could go on, but we'll just wrap this up with a huge virtual high five to perennials -- and everyone who helps cultivate them -- for their impact on controlling erosion, alone. Generation after generation of aggressive farming practices have depleted much of our vital topsoil. And, any friend of topsoil, is a friend of ours.





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