Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kinda like a home mortgage only...tastier!

Asparagus is a hardy perennial and is one of the first crops harvested every spring. The bonus asparagus gives is it's durability and cooking versatility. The plant can last for 30 years or more in the garden, and is a great vegetable to outline your garden in. Since you won't be digging it up every year and starting anew, it's important to plant it 7-8 inches underground, out of the way of your annual tillage.

Early spring is the perfect time to plant your asparagus, you can also plant it in the fall. When planting it, dig a trench 7-8 inches underground and cover it up with a few inches of soil. You'll continue to add soil as the season progresses, similar to planting potatoes.

While asparagus produces a substantial root system, and is fairly resistant to stressful conditions, it is imperative that it is planted in well drained soil and in full sun. Since spears begin to shoot up in early April, it is likely that some of the spears may be damaged by frost. If this happens, simply remove the damaged spears, and the plant will quickly send new spears to replace them.

To harvest asparagus, after the first year, simply snap the spears 1/2-3/4 inch above the soil level. If you'd prefer to cut the spears, simply cut just below the soil level. In order to avoid woody stems, keep them under 10 inches. Asparagus is a second year crop, meaning you won't harvest anything the first year.

Asparagus is such a fantastic vegetable with a variety of ways to serve it up. Whether it's on the grill, steamed, cooked on a skillet, or however your taste buds prefer, fresh asparagus is hard to beat!

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