Edible Gardening

Asparagus!

What vegetable can you plant once and enjoy eating for 20 years?  Yes, Asparagus!

If you love asparagus, planting your own is a pretty darn good investment!  I harvest crisp, delicious asparagus spears for 2 months in spring, and  then let the bed turn into a mass of beautiful ferns over summer to rejuvenate the plant for next spring’s harvest.

Beautiful Asparagus with morning dew

Beautiful Asparagus with morning dew

Here it is in June after a morning of heavy dew on the mass of 6’ tall ferns.  I like using the etherial summer foliage in flower arrangements.

Asparagus is super easy to grow as long as you give it the right home.  It needs a permanent bed where it can live for 20 years.  It would love a raised bed in full sun, good drainage, and soil with a pH of about 6.5 that has been heavily amended with organic matter/compost.  Soil prep is the key!  Once your bed is planted you will not till or put a shovel in it ever again, or you will damage the asparagus roots.  You can add an organic nitrogen source such as feathermeal, bloodmeal or Espoma Planttone or Gardentone fertilizers.

Buying asparagus bare-root plants is the most economical way to go, and February is the perfect time to order them before the mail order sources run out.  They should arrive in time for mid-March planting. Prepare their new home soon so you can plant them as soon as they arrive.  (If you see bags of asparagus roots hanging in a bag in the store, do not buy them. They are dead. )

Asparagus roots spread over time and 10 plants (about $20) is enough to fill a 12’ x 4’ bed, planting roots about 18” apart.  Check any of your seed catalogs for suppliers, or buy local asparagus roots from Plantworld in Fuquay Varina, NC through www.Etsy.com.   You will get the best production from any of the “Jersey” varieties, and the fattest, heaviest spears from “purple passion” (my favorite, they turn green when cooked.)

Spread out the roots when planting and cover them about 6” deep.  Mulch them after planting with soft stuff (shredded leaves, straw or pine needles) and annually thereafter to maintain that loose rich soil.

Kevin Lee Jacob’s blog at “A Garden for the House” has a nice pictoral of planting his first asparagus bed: http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2015/04/how-to-plant-asparagus-in-a-raised-bed/  I love his blog, but remember that he is in New York’s Hudson Valley so ignore his planting dates.

Now for the best part – EATING ASPARAGUS !   You can never go wrong pan roasting or oven roasting fresh asparagus with a bit of olive oil, salt and garlic (optional).  Please feel free to reply below and share your favorite asparagus recipes.  I promise you a bag of fresh asparagus this spring!

I just updated my LOCAL GARDEN EVENTS page so you don’t miss a thing this spring!   http://www.learntogarden.net/ellen-blog/garden-events/

GARDENING CLASSES START MARCH 2nd The Course Schedule is here: http://www.learntogarden.net/gardening-course-schedule/
Please call if you want to join me in the garden!

Happy Gardening!
Ellen
336-644-6072 H
336-541-5699 cell

5 Comments on Asparagus!

  • Christina Larson says:
    February 19, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I like to use a vegetable peeler to peel the stems – at least halfway, by alternating the peeler every other row. Then toss it in olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and grill it just long enough to get grill marks. It’s especially good when you use wood chips in your grill to achieve a smoky flavor!

    Reply

    • admin says:
      February 19, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      Yum! Thanks for sharing. My asparagus can’t get here soon enough!

      Reply

  • Evelyn says:
    February 20, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Spinach and Asparagus Salad

    Use fresh spinach as much as needed for the number of people you want to serve.
    Asparagus blanched just till it turns green dip in cold water to stop cooking
    Strawberries cut into slices
    Pecans
    Turkey cut into Small pieces
    Mix all together and use poppy seed dressing. Makes a great salad in the summer.

    Reply

  • Evelyn says:
    February 20, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Chili-Spiced Asparagus
    Earthy chili combines with the sour-power of sherry vinegar to create a fine dressing for the grassy-green asparagus. For a smoky twist, try substituting smoked paprika for the chili powder.
    Makes 4 servings, about 3/4 cup each
    Ingredients
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    2 bunches asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
    1 tablespoon water
    1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder or 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
    Instructions:
    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and water; cook, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chili powder (or paprika), garlic powder and salt; cook until the asparagus is tender-crisp, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add vinegar and stir to coat.

    Nutrition Information
    Per serving:
    62 calories
    4 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono)
    0 mg cholesterol
    6 g carbohydrate
    3 g protein
    3 g fiber
    321 mg sodium
    275 mg potassium

    Reply

    • admin says:
      February 21, 2016 at 4:25 am

      Evelyn, Thank you for the recipes! I owe you some asparagus, you will have leave Texas for a visit here in May! Ellen

      Reply

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