The Mysterious Asparagus – Chapter 1

Asparagus, the harbinger of spring, is a favorite of many and yet remains a mystery to most.  How do you grow it?  What part of the plant is it?  What happens to the shoots when you stop picking them?  What is its nutritional value?  These photos will begin to answer some of those questions.  Watch for more information coming soon in the next chapter.  Also, check out the Kitchen page of our website for recipes.

 

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New roots are planted in trenches in the spring.

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The mature roots from earlier years will begin to send up shoots in late April or early May.

 

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We cut these shoots, which are the young stems and buds of the plant. (We give the new roots a year to get strong before cutting their shoots.)

 

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We stop picking in mid June and let the stems grow and the buds open into tall asparagus “ferns”. The needle-like leaves will nourish the roots all summer to ensure a strong spring crop next year.

 

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By late winter, the ferns are dried, broken and matted by the weather, and it is time to burn off the field, watchfully!

 

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For a number of years to come, as the soil begins to warm in the spring, the roots will send up new shoots, and thus the cycle is continued.