Tried and tested


Aegopodium podagraria – ground elder
Herbaceous perennial. Young leaf shoots.

Alliaria petiolata– garlic mustard, hedge garlic
Herbaceous perennial. Don’t allow to seed. Young leaves, flower stems, shoots, roots.

Allium ampeloprasum – perennial leeks including Babington leek and elephant garlic
Herbaceous perennial with bulbs. Bulbs, stems, leaves, bulbils.

Allium cernuum – nodding onion, prairie onion
Herbaceous perennial with bulbs. Leaves, flowers.

Allium x proliferum – tree onion, walking onion, Egyptian onion
Herbaceous perennial with bulbs. Bulbs, leaves, stems, bulbils.

Allium fistulosum – welsh onion
Herbaceous perennial with bulbs. Leaves, stem, flowers.

Allium moly – golden garlic Herbaceous perennial with bulbs. Bulbs, leaves, flowers.

Allium nutans – blue chives, Siberian chives
Herbaceous perennial. Stems, leaves, flowers.

Allium sativum – garlic
Herbaceous perennial with bulbs. Bulbs, stems, leaves, scapes.

Allium schoenoprasum – chives
Herbaceous perennial. Stems, leaves, flowers.

Allium senescens – broadleaf chives
Herbaceous perennial with bulbs. Stems, leaves, scapes.

Allium tuberosum – Chinese chives, garlic chives
Herbaceous perennial. Stems, leaves, flowers.

Allium ursinum – ramsons, ramps, wild garlic
Herbaceous perennial with bulbs. Bulbs, leaves, flowers.

Allium victorialis – alpine leek, victory onion
Herbaceous perennial. Stems, leaves, scapes.

Amelanchier alnifolia – saskatoon
Fruit. Large shrub.

Amelanchier canadensis – juneberry
Fruit. Tree.

Angelica archangelica – angelica
Young stem. Biennial/herbaceous perennial.

Apium graveolens – wild celery
Leaves, shoots, flower shoots. Biennial/herbaceous perennial.

Aralia cordata – udo
Shoots, young leaves. Large herbaceous perennial.

Argentina anserina – silverweed, was Potentilla anserina
SPreading plant with tasty starchy roots. Needs to be grown in a pot.

Armoracia rusticana – horseradish
Roots. Herbaceaous perennial.

Aronia melanocarpa – chokeberry, aronia
Fruit. Shrub.

Asphodeline lutea – king’s spear
Leaves, flowers, flower spike. Herbaceous perennial.

Atriplex halimus – sea orache, saltbush
I love the salty-tasting leaves of this plant and so have tried introducing it several times. Unfortunately it always dies out during cold winters. Update: I may finally have succeeded. Winter wet seems to be saltbush’s biggest enemy, so a well-drained planting place gives it the best chance. The variety ‘Cascais’ is good for large leaves and short internodes giving a bushy habit.

Auricularia auricula-judae – jelly ear fungus
Fruiting bodies. Fungus.

Barbarea verna – American land cress
Leaves. Annual/biennial.

Beta vulgaris maritima – sea beet
Leaves, flower stems. Biennial/Perennial.

Brassica oleracea botrytis aparagoides – 9-star perennial broccoli
Leaves, immature flowers. Short-lived perennial

Brassica oleracea var. ramosa – Daubenton’s kale
Leaves. Short-lived perennial.

Bunias orientalis – Turkish rocket
Immature flower shoots. Herbaceous perennial.

Campanula persicifolia – peach-leaved bellflower, salad bluebell
Flowers. Herbaceous perennial.

Campanula posharskyana – trailing bellflower
Leaves. Low perennial.

Chenopodium bonus-henricus – Good King Henry
Immature flower shoots. Herbaceous perennial.

Claytonia (syn Montia) perfoliata – miners’ lettuce
Leaves. Annial/biennial.

Claytonia (syn Montia) sibirica – pink purslane
Stems. Herbaceous perennial.

Conopodium majus – pignut
Tubers. Herbaceous perennial.

Crambe cordifolia – colewort
Young leaf shoots. Young flower stems (broccolis). Herbaceous perennial.

Cryptotaenia canadensis – honewort
Leaves. Herbaceaous perennial.

Cryptotaenia japonica – mitsuba
Leaves. Herbaceous perennial.

Cyperus esculentus – chufa / nutsedge
Tubers. Herbaceous perennial.

Erythronium revoltum ‘Pagoda’ – dog’s tooth violet, fawn lily
Bulbs. Herbaceous perennial.

Eruca versicaria – rocket
Leaves. Ann/bi.

Foeniculum vulgare – wild fennel
Leaves, stems, seeds. Perennial.

Fragaria x ananassa – cultivated strawberry
Fruit. Herbaceous perennial.

Fragaria vesca – wild strawberry
Fruit. Herbaceous perennial.

Fragaria vesca ‘Semperflorens’ – alpine strawberry
Fruit. Herbaceous perennial.

Gaultheria shallon – shallon
Fruit. Shrub.

Gaultheria mucronata – pernettya
Fruit. Shrub.

Glechoma hederacea – ground ivy
Leaves for tea. Herb perennial. Invasive: grow in tub.

Hablitzia tamnoides – Caucasian spinach
Leaves, winter shoots. Herbaceous perennial climber.

Hemerocallis dumortieri – daylily, copper lily
Flower buds, flowers. Herbaceous perennial.

Hemerocallis fulva – daylily
First leaves, flower buds, flowers. Herbaceous perennial.

Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus – yellow daylily
First leaves, flower buds, flowers. Herbaceous perennial.

Heracleum sphondylium – hogweed
Immature leaf shoots, flower buds, seeds (spice). Herbaceous perennial.

Humulus lupulus – dwarf hop
Shoot tips. Herbaceous perennial climber.

Lathyrus latifolius – everlasting pea
Leaves. Herbaceous perennial climber.

Lathyrus tuberosus – earthnut pea
Tubers. Scrambling herb perennial.

Lentinula edodes – shiitake
Fruiting bodies. Fungus.

Lepidium latifolium – dittander
Leaves, roots. Herbaceous perennial.

Leycesteria formosa – Himalayan honeysuckle
Fruit. Shrub.

Lilium lancifolium var splendens – tiger lily
Bulbs. Herbaceous perennial.

Lilium martagon – Turk’s-cap lily
Bulbs. Herbaceous perennial.

Ligusticum scoticum – Scots lovage
Leaves, leaf shoots. Herbaceous perennial.

Malus domestica – apple
Fruit. Tree.

Maianthemum (formerly Smilacina) racemosum – false spikenard
Stems. Herb per.

Maianthemum (formerly Smilacina) stellatum – star-flowered lily of the valley
Stems. Herb per.

Malva moschata – musk mallow
Leaves, flowers, seeds. Herbaceous perennial.

Malva sylvestris – common mallow
Leaves, flowers, seeds. Herb per.

Matteuccia struthiopteris – ostrich fern
Shoots (‘fiddleheads’). Herb per. Grows well but easily lost to drying out.

Mentha aquatica – water mint
Leaves. Herbaceous perennial.

Mentha spicata – garden mint
Leaves. Herbaceous perennial.

Mentha x piperata vulgaris – peppermint
Leaves. Herbaceous perennial.

Mentha x piperata vulgaris – peppermint
Leaves. Herbaceous perennial.

Myrrhis odorata – sweet cicely
leaves, seeds, rootsherb per

Oreganum vulgare ‘Tomintoul’ – Tomintoul oregano
leaves, herb per

Oxalis acetosella – wood sorrel
leaves, herb per

Papaver somniferum – opium poppy
seeds, ann

Pastinaca sativa – parsnip
roots, biennial

Petroselinum crispum – parsley
leaves, biennial

Petroselinum crispum tuberosumHamburg parsley
roots, biennial

Pleurotus ostreatus – oyster mushrooms
fruiting bodies, fungus

Polygonatum biflorum – Solomon’s seal.
Herb per. Young shoots. Only use portion of stem up to first leaves.

Prunus cerasifera – cherry plum
fruit, tree

Prunus domestica ‘Victoria’ – Victoria plum
fruit, tree

Prunus salicina – sumomo / Japanese plum
fruit, tree

Raphanus sativus – radish
leaves, flowers, seeds pods, ann/bi

Rheum x hybridum – rhubarb
stems, herb per

Ribes aureum – golden currant, buffalo currant
fruit, shrub

Ribes nigrum – blackcurrant
fruit, shrub

Ribes rubrum – redcurrant, whitecurrant
fruit, shrub

Ribes uva-crispum – gooseberry
fruit, shrub

Rosmarinus officinalis – rosemary
leaves as herb, shrub

Rubus ideaus – raspberry
fruit, shrub

Rubus phoenicolasius – Japanese wineberry
fruit, perennial with biennial canes.

Rumex acetosa – sorrel
leaves, herb per

Rumex patientia – herb patience
leaves, flower shoots, herb per

Rumex scutatus – buckler-leaved sorrel
leaves, herb per

Sanguisorba minor – salad burnet, pimpinella
leaves used as herb, small perennial

Saponaria officinalis – soapwort
NOT EDIBLE – leaves and stems used for soap, herb per

Satureja montana – winter savoury
leaves as herb, perennial

Scorzonera hispanica – scorzonera
Leaves. Herb per.

Smyrnium olusatrum – alexanders
Strong flavoured roots and shoots. Seed as spice. Shade tolerant. Herb per.

Sedum rupestre syn. reflexum – crooked yellow stonecrop
leaves, creeping perennial

Sedum telephium – orpine
leaves, herb per

Taraxacum officinale – dandelion
leaves, herb per

Tilia cordata – small-leaved lime
leaves, tree

Tragopogon porrifolius – salsify
leaves, immature flowers, ann/bi

Vaccinium crosses – blueberry
fruit, shrub

Vaccinium myrtilus – blaeberry
fruit, small shrub

Vaccinium ovatum – box blueberry
fruit, shrub

Vaccinium vitis-idaea – cowberry, lingonberry
fruit, small shrub

Valerianella locusta – lamb’s lettuce
young plants, ann/bi

Vicia faba – broad bean
leaves, seeds; ann/bi

Viola riviniana – wood violet
leaves, flowers; per

Viola riviniana ‘Purpurea’ – purple wood violet
leaves, flowers; per

Wasabia japonica – wasabi
root, leaves; herb per


9 thoughts on “Tried and tested

  1. Sam

    I am creating a forest garden in my allotment. This is a great list. I shall try some, if not all. Thanks for sharing.

        1. Alan Carter Post author

          Ah, that one. It’s pretty easy to grow: I grew mine from seed that I got from Future Foods (no longer in existence) but it also propagates pretty easily from suckers. It grows slowly but without any problems; it usually fruits heavily and it is a very attractive plant too. The drawbacks are that it isn’t the easiest to harvest, nor is it the tastiest of the Vacciniums. The difficulty in harvesting comes from the fact that the fruit are very small and don’t ripen all at the same time. The best way seems to be to let them all ripen, then just run your hand down the branch, causing a rain of little black fruits. You would have to net them to guarantee that the birds didn’t harvest them first though. The taste is pleasant but not in the league of blueberries or blaeberries/bilberries.

  2. Randy

    I see you mention soapwort. My wife uses greenwill soapberry in the washing machine to wash clothes with as she is sensitive to detergents and it is natural. Has worked great. Have considered trying to grow the mukorossi tree that the fruit comes from but read where it takes 10 years to bear fruit. Thanks for the list! Will look over to see what I could grow in our alkaline soil.


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