The Backyard Larder

A place to explore and buy perennial vegetables and other food plants.

The Backyard Larder Blog

Exploring the possibilities of the perennial vegetable garden.

Do ducks eat duck potatoes?

Boiled wapato

I’m not too sure whether ducks eat duck potatoes. The sources I read disagreed about that! But we do. Well we did for the first time last Friday evening – and they were excellent. ‘Duck potatoes’ are one name for the turions (underwater buds) of the beautiful water plant Sagittaria latifolia, also called broad-leaf arrowhead, or wapato. […]

Mashua – roasted, baked, fried and boiled.

Chopped mashua

All summer I had a vibrant looking mashua plant growing against the fence at the allotment. No flowers though until a week or two ago. And then the frost got it! Time to find out whether we like this root or not I thought, and I dug up a bunch of lovely clean tubers. It […]

Tubers on toast

Marsh woundwort tubers on toast

I’ve been having a bit of trouble growing decent-sized Chinese artichoke (Stachys affinis) tubers. This year’s harvest is an improvement on last year’s – but I need to do more to achieve the soil they desire, one which is light, well-drained and moist all year around. But I’ve found a less fussy alternative. Here is […]

Sunny side up or down?


I found a recipe for braised sunflower heads! Who would have thought it? The heads are braised in a white wine, olive oil and lemon juice mixture and then topped with ricotta cheese, herbs and breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. My attempt….(I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta). I was dubious. But wow, yes! […]

Don’t Skip the Skirret in the Stew

Skirret roots

In the early days of The Backyard Larder I wrote a guest post for The Unconventional Gardener about the perennial vegetables I’d started to collect and grow for sale. I described my attempt at making a stew just using the harvestable perennial vegetables I had growing at the time – and how it hadn’t really worked! Well […]

Introducing the Purple Tree Collard

Purple tree collard

This is a very special plant on my allotment because it took me ages to get one! I learnt about the purple tree collard probably from watching John Kohler’s YouTube videos about the perennial vegetables he grows in America. They seemed to be unobtainable here and for ages I couldn’t find anyone who would ship […]

The Silverwhips of Staithes

Wild cabbage, Staithes

Here are the promised photos of the ‘silverwhips’ of Staithes, taken on my recent visit. Silverwhips is the Staithes name for wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) according to tour guide company Real Staithes. The curators in the amazing local museum hadn’t heard of the name, but I found references to it in a book on Staithes dialect by Arthur […]

Wild Cabbage Update 4

Wild cabbage

Well that seems fairly conclusive – letting wild cabbage flower its heart out rather than chopping off the flowers as they appear led to a much better ‘leafing up’ after flowering. This was the plant early this year before flowering (in its second year). We’d been harvesting leaves all winter. Here it is flowering in […]

Replenishing the Sea Beet

Self-seeded sea beet

Sea beet plants (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima). A reliable source of great-tasting succulent leaves throughout most of the year. Most excellent perennial vegetable! Well-established now – I think these are four years old. Look at that thick stem! These plants were grown from seed I gathered on Anglesey. Drawing on this study which compared the life span of […]

The Perennial Potato Onion

potato onion split from cluster

In the South Devon and Botanical Society May Show of 1851 you could win a prize of one shilling and sixpence for the ‘best dish of potato onions’. I’m not sure I’d win any prizes for mine but they have in fact done better this year than previously, thanks to further additions of compost to the […]