Are there any edible perennial plants that does not require much care and can grow in zone 4-5 in a very sandy and iron rich soil? It's in a spruce/pine forest with a lot of lingonberry and blueberry as ground vegetation, so I guess it's quite acidic as well. The place I have in mind can get a decent amount of sun, even though it's in a forest.

I can do some initial preparations like soil improvements and then reoccuring maintence during one week in the summer of each year.

Regarding the risk of pests, I'm satisfied with crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.


1 Answer 1


Lingonberry, blueberry, and cranberry come to mind. ;^) Checkerberry (wintergreen) too.

Give them more light (cut down enough spruce/fir to make some sun on the spot) and fruiting should improve. Or move the plants to the sunny spot.

Potatoes actually like a light, acid soil pretty well, though they would probably appreciate more nitrogen than there probably is. They can approximate perennial in zone 4/5, or at least I haven't planted any for 3 years and they keep coming back, even after I've tried to dig them all out!

Apples tolerate somewhat acid soil fairly well, but blueberry levels of acid might be a bit much - still, you could lime their area (and not the berry patch) initially and in your yearly maintenance. But YOU might not get much food from them if you are only there one week in summer - perhaps with an extreme summer apple like yellow transparent.

Rosa Rugosa is both hardy and relatively carefree, but again, the rose hips might be a bit late to do you any good in summer.

Garlic is a possibility - left to itself it does tend to shrink year to year, but if you dig it up and replant cloves in the "summer maintenance" it could work out. While common practice is to delay replanting, many folks do just replant when harvesting, and it's certainly disease and deer resistant. It would also appreciate a hearty dose of lime to get the soil near-neutral in its spot.

  • Potatoes are the easiest and most prolific vegetable you could do, they love the same acidic soil of blueberries, huckleberries. Garlic is tough. They need to be planted in fall to mature by the end of the next season. Make sure they won't be able to freeze. If your soil freezes then you'll have to get the potatoes out of the ground before winter.
    – stormy
    Aug 28, 2016 at 1:55
  • Ecnerwal, your potatoes come back because you left a baby potato in the bed after you harvested. Grins!
    – stormy
    Aug 28, 2016 at 1:57
  • As mentioned in the answer, many people dig garlic up and replant right then. I've even left undug for 2 seasons, and the resulting harvest was good, but in the longer term it fades away, I found. My rogue baby potatoes are out there in the frozen ground (zone 4/5).
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 28, 2016 at 1:57
  • This is for zone 4/5? Should work fine along with your potatoes. The problem lies in crop rotation and the risks of not rotating, disease and stuff. Great plant selections too!
    – stormy
    Aug 28, 2016 at 2:07
  • Do you find a few old potatoes or your rogue babies all rotten, squishy? What was this zone where your soil is freezing?
    – stormy
    Aug 28, 2016 at 2:11

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