I Love Veggies!
I was one of those weird kids who actually liked to eat their veggies. My mother says I used to get in the refrigerator and just grab out handfuls of raw vegetables from the crisper drawer to snack on. Which, I’m assuming, Mom was completely O.K. with. I mean seriously, who WOULDN’T want their kid to eat their vegetables without complaining? Especially Asparagus? Just one less thing for Mom to worry about. Trust me though, I wreaked havoc in other ways. Let’s not go there.
Anyway, for a person who’s always liked vegetables, spring is amazing. Spring means asparagus, as much as you can eat, however you can think to cook it. The only thing is, store-bought asparagus is just mediocre. It’s been sprayed with who-knows-what, shipped from who-knows-where, and touched by I don’t even want to know who. And in the category of easy growing vegetables, asparagus wins it with a one and done strategy. What I mean is, it’s easy to plant and easy to take care of. Best of all, once you plant your patch, you can sit back and enjoy it for years and years to come!
I planted a patch of twenty-five crowns this year. (What? Did you think I was kidding with the ‘as much as you can eat’ remark?) That huge patch only took about an hour of actual planting time, and I only broke a sweat because I was busy swatting mosquitoes the entire time. I totally counted that as my cardio workout for the day. The process is stupid simple, but there are just a few key things to know.
The asparagus usually comes in bundles of what they call crowns. Each crown is a set of roots, dried out so they go dormant. In order to bring the crowns back to life, you should first soak them in water for anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes.
The crowns should be spaced out about 18 inches from each other, so I used a tape measure and marked it off ahead of time. Then I dug a hole about ten inches deep and ten inches wide. I mounded up some dirt in the middle of the hole, and used that to place the crown on top. Then I arranged all the roots in a comfortable looking way around the crown, and then covered it with about an inch or so of dirt. I purposely kept the mounded shape so that when we water, it will run around the crown like a little moat.
Patience is a Virtue
Here’s the only downside to planting your own asparagus patch. You can’t really eat any the first year they come up. They’re too spindly, and it is detrimental to the roots. The second year, you can pick sparingly. And pick the ones that are at least the thickness of a pencil. By the third year, the roots should be well enough established to allow you to take as much asparagus as you want. Now, I know that seems like forever. But your patience will be rewarded because a good asparagus patch will last over twenty years if you take care to start it off right.