Oct 25th
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Eco News Organic Gardening Asparagus Organically Grown & Prepared
Asparagus Organically Grown & Prepared PDF Print E-mail
Eco News
fruit-veg-wire-basket-283pxAsparagus used in ancient times, is one of the few perennial vegetable crops. The shoots are picked as young spears in the spring. Later in the season the foliage matures into an airy, fern-like cloud which changes to a golden color in the fall. Because asparagus takes up a permanent place in the garden, but can be an attractive plant, many people with space imitations use asparagus as a border or hedge plant.

Latin Name: Asparagus officinalis

Common Name(s): Asparagus

Exposure: Full sun

Mature: Approximately 5' tall x 3' wide

Bloom Period/Days to Harvest: Spring through early summer, depending on the climate.
Description: Asparagus spears are straight shoots with scale-like tips. Although green varieties are most commonly grown, there are also many purple varieties. Shoots continue emerging from the soil throughout the spring. As the weather warms, shoots end to et spindly and are left to grow into the mature ferny foliage.
Cultural Notes: Asparagus is a spring crop, preferring cooler temperatures and full sun.

Plants can be started from seed about 4 weeks before the last expected frost. More commonly they are grown from crowns, which are the one year old base and roots of the plants. These are planted in a trench with the roots spread out over mounded soil. The trench is gradually filled in as the plants grow.

Provide a fairly rich soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

Maintenance: Water regularly, especially while young. It takes about three years for plants to mature enough for harvesting. Prior to that plants should be allowed to grow and feed themselves.

Top dress annually with compost or mulch. Keep the patch free of competing weeds.

Pests: Fusarium Wilt - Protect by buying resistant varieties.

Asparagus beetles - Hand picking should keep them under control.

Harvesting: In the third year, begin harvesting spears that are finger-sized and about 8" long. You can either snap off the spears are cut them with a knife. Harvest for about 4 weeks the first year. In subsequent years you can harvest until the weather warms and the spears look spindly. Then allow the foliage to grow and feed the plants.
Suggested Varieties: ‘Mary Washington’ is the most commonly found variety. It was bred for rust resistance.
‘Jersey Giant’ is rust and fusarium wilt resistant and yields early.
‘Brock Imperial’ offers high yields.
‘Princeville’ does well in warmer climates.
‘Purple Passion’ is a sweet purple variety.
Steam...stand upright in thermos of boiling water for one minute...add to salads, stir-fry, serve with a tasty sauce, bundles tied with chives, steam or raw for a special salad and top with a dressing of blended avocado, egg, honey, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, herbs add yoghurt and serve poured over chilled asparagus or as a dip or as an entree.Great served as finger food with a dip. Asparagus is very tasty baked with a mixed vegetable platter, served with pesto.
Organic Asparagus
Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 6 minutes, Serves: 6
2 lbs. organic asparagus
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 c. fresh organic peas, shelled
4 tbsp. Organic Unsalted Butter
1/3 c. Organic Cheese, grated
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. fresh mint, minced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large saucepan half full of water. Add one-tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Clean asparagus and break off woody ends. Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add asparagus and boil for 2 minutes. Add peas and cook 30 seconds longer. Drain and place in a bowl. Add butter, cheese, lemon and mint. Toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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