"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I really like asparagus.  I'm sure there are many people who don't like it.  Of course, there is no accounting for taste.  I have to say that it is very cool being married to someone who shares almost all the same likes and dislikes for food.  We both like spicy, though I'm sure I can tolerate it hotter than Twyla.  Neither of us like okra very much, but there are some recipes that make it more tolerable.  It doesn't matter that I was raised in the South either.

Since I'm on the subject and in case you ever have to win a contest on trivia about me, I can't stand licorice.  Not even a hint of the stuff.  I don't particularly like pears unless I'm really hungry.

I don't think there is a cruciferous veggie that I don't like.  I really like broccoli.  Same with Brussel sprouts.  Fresh dark cabbage leaves out of the garden are monumentally better than the light colored heads from the supermarket.  I don't mind collard greens, but I prefer mustard and turnip greens.  Fresh spinach out of my own garden is a delight.

Last fall I planted the root crowns for asparagus.  Twyla ordered a bundle from a seed company and I think there were five or six in the package.  I dug deep trenches in a semi-shady spot in the front and planted them.  During the winter when the chickens were free ranging, I had to chase them out of those trenches a couple of times.  I guess the chickens just take advantage of going after loose soil to scratch in.

This spring, Twyla bought a couple of year old asparagus plants in pots and planted them at each end of one of the trenches.  I guess she wanted a head start on some asparagus.  This is my first time trying to grow asparagus and I always wish I had more information and pictures than I can ever get.  So, in case there is someone else who wants to know, this post is for you.

It makes sense that it is least expensive to start asparagus from root crowns.  Sorry that I didn't take any pictures when I got them, but all they really look like are some dead, dried up root tangles.  There's one little knot about the size of your thumb and then a bunch of roots about six to nine inches long.  If you didn't know what it was from the label, you couldn't identify it.  You plant these in a deep trench (12" or more) about a foot apart, about 2" deep.  You want well amended soil with lots of organic matter, and the purpose of the trench is to be able to keep piling on the organic matter as they grow.  I hope to eventually dig out all the clay and rocky soil from around those trenches over the next few years to encourage wide spreading of the crop.

The one year, head-start plants freshly planted look like what you see in the first picture.  The plant is about four inches wide and about six inches tall.

Yeah, if you've never seen it before, you're probably thinking, "That doesn't look anything like the stuff in the store."    That's right.  The plant has to be into the third year before it starts putting up those familiar spears like you see in the produce section or what you get out of a can.  This plant is quite an investment for us.  Have you priced asparagus in the store lately?

Like I said, I really like the stuff.  But we haven't bought any in a long time.  The budget says that it is a luxury.  So I will put a lot of effort into successfully growing this stuff to have an ongoing supply in the future.

What does the plant look like if you are growing it from the little crowns?  The picture below is what sprouted recently from two of the crowns I planted last September.

Next summer, this little guy should look a lot more like the first picture, and hopefully be even bigger, if I heap on the composted organic matter and guard it well.  Then the summer after that I should be dining on some tender and delicious spears with some butter or my own Hollandaise sauce.

I've always had problems with the scientists who do taxonomy.  I don't agree with them on several points, and I even wrote a paper showing evidence that proves they come up with species where none exist, but rather adaptations make a species look like it is new or different. On that note, I don't understand why they once classified asparagus as belonging to the lily family.  Huh?  I think it belongs in its own class.

It produces bell shaped flowers and small red berries (kind of like holly) that are poisonous to humans.  Interesting.  Just like rhubarb leaves are poisonous, but the stalks are delicious.  I planted a bunch of that this year as well.

Twyla makes the most delicious rhubarb pie.  I'm looking forward to it.

Until next post . . .     Shalom.

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