Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Adventures in Asparagus

It's too soon to tell if my new addition of asparagus to the garden will be worth the effort.  A veggie or fruit makes it into my garden when it meets at least one of these three qualifications:
  1. At least person (or pet) in the house must like it.
  2. It tastes better fresh then when bought in the store.
  3. It's just too expensive at the store.
Well asparagus meets #1 and #3 of the above requirements.  It's something that we rarely buy at the store even though Mike and I enjoy it.  It's so hard to get asparagus the size we like it.  Additionally, it's a bit on the pricey side, especially when it's rarely that good when bought from the store.

A friend of mine was telling me about how he purchased some asparagus roots and planted them this season.  Hearing his story really got me curious and so I decided to do research of my own good ol' Junior and Archibald (Veggie Tales peeps will get that).  I ended up purchasing 10 purple asparagus roots.  Purple asparagus are sweeter than the green asparagus.  Additionally, you can eat them raw.  When you cook the purple asparagus, it will turn green (sort of like a lobster turning red when you cook it -- how's that analogy?)

Anyway, they came in the mail and to prepare the soil, I had to dig some pretty deep holes.  At least 12" deep.  I put root in each hole and then only covered them about 2".

I kept them watered and waited to see what would happen.  A week or so later little baby asparagus started to pop out of the ground.  First one, then another, then another.  Pretty soon each of the 10 roots showed promise by producing new growth.  I then filled in the holes a bit more and continued to keep an eye on them.

Several weeks later I have quite a pretty little addition to my garden, if not yet edible.  The asparagus needs a season or two to produce more mature stems.  At the very least, they are pretty.  The good thing about asparagus is it is a perennial and will continue to produce for me.

Right now some of them are producing what looks like little yellow berries.  I read that these will fall to the ground and help spread them.  If it is doing this or not I can't tell as each week passes by, I see a new baby sprout emerge from the ground.  

I put the asparagus in the same raised bed as I plant some of my herbs.  I have to say out of all my raised bed, my asparagus and herb bed looks the best.  I am eager to see how these veggies do this season and next season.