Asparagus First Fruits

Asparagus is First

bucket asparagus
bucket of first asparagus

Here is the first little bucket of spears asparagus harvested this year. It has a mixture of older roots that produce the thicker guys and quite a few baby spears that I cut so that these newer plants concentrate on producing roots instead of stalk. I will pick about this much every two days from our one row of mature spears. Last year Pete and I planted another 6 rows from seed so in a couple more years we should be able to make pickled asparagus and even take some to the farmers market.

bucket & pan asparagus
asparagus ready to sauté

There is nothing like slightly steamed asparagus with butter and garlic. Yum! We look forward to this short season crop. It has lots of nutrients that re-energize us as we get our garden planted and going in spring. Here it is cleaned and ready to put in the pan and the compost is in the white bucket on the left. Experience the flavor of freshly picked spears and you are spoiled for life.

This crop take the patience of Job to start in the garden. Multiple years before you get a reliable harvest, but, it is truly worth all the effort. I started the first 25 foot row by buying those expensive 6 roots for $9 at the farm supply store. Roots were all that was available in the seed books and store, so I was under the impression that you had to start asparagus by a root. Wrong, bare roots work but that is not the only way to go.

You can plant them with seed just as easily. If you let the plants go to seed and collect them in the Fall, you can save a lot of money in increasing your asparagus output. Asparagus produces a lot of seed, so I don’t understand why the outlets that have seed charge so much for it.

Planting takes soil preparation requiring you to dig channels that you fill back up as they grow. The goal is to get a lot of root going and it takes patience, care and time. The biggest difficulty I had with growing this was lack of information to help do that. It is hard to weed around starts if you don’t know what they look like as they start to come up. They do not look like the adult plant, so I murdered a lot of my starts before I caught on. Here are some pictures of how they look in the early stages.