Friday, December 21, 2012

All About Asparagus

Winter begins.

Asparagus Aethiopicus - AKA Asparagus Fern
We have many asparagus ferns brought in from Farmer MacGregor's grandmother's garden years and years ago. They produce berries that turn red this time each year; but please don't eat the berries.  They are poisonous to dogs and cats and will make your stomach upset.  This plant isn't really a fern.  It's a member of the lily family and is regarded as a weed in many areas because of the ability of the tuberous roots to spread quickly.  It might be ideal if you have a spot in the garden where nothing will grow.  They also have spines; so it's best to use gloves when handling.

This year, asparagus was planted in the garden for Farmer MacGregor to enjoy in the years to come. I've never grown it before.  I understand that it takes two years of growth before you can harvest the spears.  One great side benefit of growing asparagus is that the plants help to repel Root Knot Nematodes.  Bonus.  Three plants are thriving in a bed of mustards, marigolds, and basil.  The basil was shocked with the recent freeze and will be returning to the earth soon.

If you grow asparagus, let me know any growing tips please.

Asparagus trivia:  Did you know that eating asparagus can make your pee stink?  You're welcome.


Lisa Paul said...

Two years is pretty optimistic for getting your own asparagus. I planted crowns nearly three years ago and I'll get my first real crop this coming spring. The first year, you are supposed to leave the spears alone, the second year, pick them only until the new spears come in less than a pencil's thickness (you'll get about six spears). Finally, the third year, you'll get a crop. But you are supposed to call a halt to the harvest again once replacement spears get very thin and spindly. I've just cut my ferns down and covered them with compost for the winter.

sensiblegardening said...

Asparagus is tricky, I guess that's why it's always so expensive in the grocery store. I tried a few years back but had no luck at all. After 2 years of a few scraggly shoots I gave up. I hope you have better luck!

dorothy said...

We planted asparagus years ago when we lived in the country. But we moved the next year so we never had a harvest. Now asparagus fern I can't get rid of. I do like it for hanging baskets, though. Have a very merry Christmas!