I would like to plant some root edibles (is it correct to call these vegetables?) near my house which will either remain a viable food source for longer than a season, or propagate so that there will always be a viable source of food in the area. I have read that yams grow fibrous after the first year and some onions don't last long in the wild. Could you give me a list of plants that could fill this purpose?

I live in the south eastern united states, zone 7/8.

  • 1
    That would depend greatly where in the world your house is, so put that info into the question, please (edit the question to include the information.) Yams won't make it through a single winter where I live. If you will not give them any care, you'll need things that either are natural in the area, or that naturalize well in the area. Those may already be there and all you'd need to do is educate yourself on what they are and how to spot them.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 14:24
  • Has anyone heard of Egyptian Walking Onions? These sound like a good candidate.
    – Hoytman
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 12:37
  • @Hoytman I've heard of them and seen some in person. The plants get pretty tall. They, potato onions, and bunching onions are all good candidates (if you need a bulbing type of bunching onion, try Crimson Forest). Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 23:32

2 Answers 2


You could plant sunchockes, otherwise called Jerusalem Artichoke, earth apple, topinambour. This was widely used during WW2 in remote campaign places in France at least. And it will grow beautiful flowers.

If you leave nearer to the equator (e.g. the Peruvian Andes), you may simply grow potatoes!

Yams may grow fibrous when getting old, but I recon you can select the young ones at the edge of the plant.

  • I also wanted to point out that people don't generally harvest Jerusalem artichokes until they want to use them (they can leave them in the ground throughout the winter); I'm not sure if you can harvest them in the following spring or the following summer, or if you have to wait until the fall again, though. Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 23:29

Most likely you can grow root vegetables all year round where you live. However, there may be a problem with burrowing rodents etc that might eat your crops.

Traditionally people did not leave their vegetables in the ground though, but pulled them out and kept them in a cold cellar to preserve them. This freed up the ground to plant another crop, using crop rotation techniques.

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