Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oh, hai there!

Spring only truly arrives when I see this in the garden:

ASPARAGUS!

I really should have taken a pic of this earlier.  One day ago it was but an inch tall!  Asparagus, like rhubarb, is known for its ridiculously fast growth (which I still need to procure...)

Not only is asparagus fantastic for being a perennial vegetable, but the speed of its growth just makes you feel like your garden is really working hard.  Plus, have you seen the price of asparagus these days?!  In addition, I can't describe how awesome fresh asparagus is (sprinkled with some parmesan cheese, olive oil, wrapped in proscuitto...mmm).

It's a spring veggie, but on odd occasions, my asparagus has been known to grow a few stalks late in the year, like in August... I'm not complaining!

Once I saw this stalk popping out of the soil I started hunting for others because 1) what sort of meal would be good with just ONE asparagus stalk (that's almost a mournful looking image isn't it?) and 2) if there's one, there's GOTTA be more ready to show their stalk-y self.

AND THERE ARE:


Other good signs are the fern-y leaves:

I purchased my asparagus 3 years ago when they were 2 year old crowns.  Asparagus takes a while to get started and settled into a bed (and really don't like to be moved, though I did do it once for good reason).  When they're 3 years old you can start gently harvesting them, but year 5 (now for mine) is when things really get going I understand so I'm totally REVVED to eat 'sparagus all spring! 

3 comments:

Melissa said...

I planted asparagus last year (not sure how old the plants were).I had all ferny growth last year. I just found my first spear the other day! I am so excited. So does the ferny stuff mean that it wont produce spears until next year?

persephone said...

Hi Melissa! Is the spear you found large? Like a good size one you'd find in the store? If not then the plants might still be young and you may need to let the plants grow and gain strength until next year for any real picking. If you over harvest the first year it will weaken the plant and make for poor to no harvest the next years, though in a Purdue report, this has been disputed.

Did you notice any berries on the ferny-ness from last year? If that's the case, the berries are from female plants and the little ferns are probably little asparagus seedlings.

Some people cull them, in order to
not overwhelm their beds, some people think that it's not a big deal, or I assume you might be able them use them for more plantings elsewhere but if they're a hybrid they might not be true and you won't know what kind of plant you're getting.

Here are some great resources (I love universities that post this stuff) that I will probably be re-reviewing myself:

http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/freepubs/pdfs/uj231.pdf

http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-1402/HLA-6016web.pdf

http://www.ipmcenters.org/pmsp/pdf/miasparagus.pdf

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/hort/ext/Pubs/ho/HO_096.html

Melissa said...

No it was a small spear so I have left it alone. Yes, the ferny plants have berries on them. Will read up on the links. thanks!