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Gardening Tips for Asparagus? Asparagus is one of the most popular vegetables. As a result, many people grow their own asparagus at home because they are so easy to take care of and make for a delicious meal. So what are some tips that actually work when it comes to growing your asparagus? Keep reading to find out!
Planting asparagus is a pastime for many people. This vegetable can be quite costly at the supermarket. It has a short growing season and is very rich in important nutrients. Asparagus is a perianal vegetable that is one of the first spring crops. It contains vitamin C, vitamin B, iron, and calcium.
Gardening Tips for Asparagus That Actually Work!
As for growing your own asparagus, it tends to grow well in areas that have a cold winter, with ground freezes. It can be grown in almost all states but does not do well in Florida because of the hot, humid weather. It also does not like the wetlands. Let's get to it!
History of Asparagus
Asparagus is a vegetable that originated in ancient Persia. The word "asparagus" comes from the Persian language where it translates to "sprout of asparag." It was spread by the Romans and then became popular in France, where it is still grown today.
It has been long believed that people should avoid eating asparagus in months without an "r" because they could get gout from these vegetables; however, new research shows this isn't true. Don't you just love old wives' tales?
Benefits of Asparagus
It's low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. Additionally, eating asparagus has a number of potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, healthy pregnancy outcomes, and lower blood pressure.
Basic Asparagus Facts
Asparagus seeds can take 21 days — and even far longer — to germinate. Don't give up - it will happen.
Plant asparagus in spring or fall in a sunny spot with nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Asparagus takes a few seasons to mature but will reap a harvest for 15 to 30 years, so choose a planting location that will go undisturbed for a long time.
The optimal temperature range for production is between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime, 60-70 degrees at night. In that optimal range, it's not uncommon for an established plant to grow three to six inches of asparagus spears per day!
Each plant yields about ½ pound of asparagus spears each harvest.
It won't harm you to consume asparagus raw, but cooking this thin, stalky vegetable first helps your body absorb more of its cancer-fighting nutrients. Try it classically steamed or sautéed with a little olive oil and lemon juice.
Gardening Tips for Asparagus: Soil
Although asparagus favors sandy loam soil, it is quite tolerant of all but the densest clays. As long as drainage is good and soil moisture can be maintained during the growing season, the asparagus plants will thrive.
Before planting asparagus, it is essential to decide where you are going to plant it. The reason for this is because it will come up again each spring. Some asparagus fields have been growing steadily for more than 20 years. Asparagus plants tend to enjoy the full sun as opposed to a shady area. Planting this vegetable in an area that is exposed to full sun also lessens the chance of it getting root rot due to growing in an area that is damp and wet.
When first planting the asparagus, make sure that the planting bed is clear of other plant debris and roots. The asparagus plant is either male or female. The male plant generally gives a higher yield as there is no need for them to produce seeds.
If you plan on planting asparagus from plants as opposed to seedlings, choose 1-year-old crowns. They produce just a quick as 2-year-old crowns. When you are preparing the ground for planting the asparagus, make sure to dig trenches that are 6 inches deep by 12 inches wide. Keep their roots wrapped in wet moss until ready to plant. The roots should also be soaked in a damp compost solution before being placed in the ground.
Plants should be placed 1-2 feet apart and covered with 2 inches of soil. Once the plant takes hold after a couple of weeks, make sure that you add some additional soil to the top of the plant.
Gardening Tips for Asparagus: Plant Care
Asparagus should not have its roots disturbed, so you'll need to gently hand-pull weeds, taking care not to disturb asparagus' roots. Weeds will become less of an issue as the plants fill in. Mulch around the plant with compost or grass clippings to help retain soil moisture and reduce weed growth.
It's natural for the soil around an asparagus plant to dry out between watering which is why it needs a good amount of water every day! When there is enough rainfall it's best to let the ground underneath them go dry because this will prevent rot from developing on their roots. But if the weather becomes too hot then make sure that they get watered more than once per day so that all growth points stay moist at all times!
It's important to cut off the top third and bottom two-thirds when harvesting so that it doesn't take too long before another crop! If you leave too much on, they'll become stringy and tough to chew.
The long, tender asparagus shoots should be harvested when they are about eight inches high and four or five years old.
Raw is amazing - either chopped or whole spear. You can simply use it on a veggie tray or added to a salad. If cooked - your recipe options are endless.
One of the easiest ways to cook it:
Fill a pot with water and add salt, lemon juice or vinegar, olive oil, butter, pepper and onion to flavor the cooking liquid. Bring it to a boil over high heat before adding in your stalks of asparagus! Covering them will help retain their color while they are being cooked. Remove lid after five minutes so that extra moisture evaporates off the top of the dish.
You cook it for about 15 more minutes.
Or you can roast them! You can roast asparagus in a pan with olive oil and salt, then toss them in butter for added flavor. You could also wrap the stalks of asparagus around whole garlic cloves if you have any laying about - this will add a sweet taste to your roasted vegetables that are perfect for dinner.
Can You Freeze Asparagus?
Usually, when you freeze a vegetable, you blanch it first. Can you freeze fresh asparagus without blanching it? Without blanching to stop the enzymes, the enzymes remain active, and the flavor, texture, color, and nutritional content of the asparagus will be compromised. When properly blanched and packaged, asparagus retains its quality in the freezer for 10 to 12 months.
How to Freeze Asparagus
Now that we established the fact that you need to blanch the asparagus, the big question is, how long do you blanch asparagus for? The answer is usually three to four minutes. It is a pretty simple process: In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Season with two tablespoons of coarse salt, and add asparagus; boil until tender, 3 to 4 minutes (depending on thickness).
Remove with tongs, or drain in a colander, and immediately transfer to ice water for one minute to stop the cooking process. That quick ice bath is called “shocking” and will keep your blanched vegetable a beautiful, dark, green color. Pat it dry, package it, and you can now keep it for up to twelve months.
Easy Asparagus Recipe
Here are a few fun recipes we found for Asparagus: Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Piccata And Asparagus and Delectable Asiago Asparagus Tart. This creamy Asparagus soup just rocks AND is Weight Watcher's friendly, as is this simple way to cook asparagus.