… for things you can plant, that need next to no looking after, that yield an edible crop, year after year.
Rhubarb would be an obvious one, I think. Both of us think we don’t like rhubarb, but it could just be we didn’t like it as children and haven’t properly revisited our opinion in adulthood. Then there’s the worry of the “poisonous” leaves – Wikipedia says it would take the average adult 5kg of disgusting bitter leaves to get a lethal dose.
Raspberry canes might be another? I think you’re supposed to cut them down at the end of the season, but I’m sure I remember some self-seeded ones in my grandfather’s garden that did nearly as well as the highly-attended-to ones in the fruit cage.
We do have an elder tree which yields lovely flowers for elderflower cordial around this sort of time each year. This year, I’m also planning to have a go at elderflower vodka as well for something tasty to last a little longer.
We’ve no room for any more trees, and we have far more shaded parts of our garden than sunny, because of all the trees around the edges.
We have a few seedlings that have been kindly donated this year, which is more than we have managed in the past. If we manage to get them past the highly dubious stage where the local slugs eat out all the growing shoots, that will be a minor miracle.
Strawberries, but they do need a sunny spot. They just spread and grow and come up each year. And we had them all year when we lived in the house in Barnet.
B’s just planted two kinds of beans in small indoor pots and they’re germinating. They’ll climb up the fence area.
have you tried rhubarb and ginger? (crumble/jam/pie/whatever)
Raspberries are good. You need the autumn fruiting sort, then it’s just a matter of giving them a full haircut in late Nov/Dec and standing back. Best in an edged bed as they sucker like crazy and you’ll need to keep track of them, if you’re not being obsessive about tidiness.
I grow Good King Henry which is pretty much a weed but comes back year after year. Think slightly bitter callaloo or mature spinach.
Don’t grow rhubarb unless you really do like it. Like courgettes it can overwhelm you in its season but it’s ornamental enough to deserve a corner.
Jerusalem artichokes will make a handsome patch and provide tubers for the winter but may make you fart.
I have a little blueberry bush which I thought would be loads of trouble but has been very well behaved. You do need an acid soil for this to work well though.
Grapes up a pergola? Makes a nice jelly even if the fruit are small and sour after a poor summer. And you can stuff the leaves.
The trouble with anything perennial is that although it seems it will be little work to get a good crop really does need you put the time in to keep it weeded and cared for. Otherwise we’d all have huge asparagus beds.
I’ll second jerusalem artichokes. Artichoke soup is one of the best dishes there is, it’s what truffle oil was invented for.
I think loganberries are pretty low maintenance. Tie stalks as they grow to wires stretched along a fence (5 minutes work a month), harvest the fruit and cut down the old stems in autumn. Makes the best jam there is.
I can look out some raspberry canes if you like? I’ve got some volunteers that have popped up in the middle of my broad bean plants and are going to be removed. I think they’re autumn ones. maybe. also I’ve got some strawberries if you want any of them. both regular strawberries and alpine.