Sunday, 26 May 2013

First Asparagus


Asparagus takes centre stage,
even over our own fresh duck eggs and
home-made ham.

Two years ago I planted some 30 asparagus crowns and watched them grow into wispy, fern-like plants. Last year I waited patiently for them to emerge and they duly did, poking their heads through the soil's crust as if by magic. Again, I watched them grow into wispy, fern-like plants. They attracted a few asparagus beetles, beautiful insects which more often than not managed to fly away before I could squash them between my thumb and forefinger. There were never more than a few, though, so no worries about an infestation. I duly mulched the asparagus with hay, supposedly this luxury crop's favourite treatment, but this was not a good move in the year of the great slug plague. It just gave the slimy vermin somewhere to hide and a damp shelter from the sun. The hay was removed, but still the slugs attacked.

But this year, their third year, I awaited the emergence of the asparagus spears with more anticipation. For this year I could eat them! No more patiently waiting while they accrued the sun's energy in their roots and built their strength.


 






Why do I choose to write about this today? After all, asparagus has been advertised at the roadside for several weeks now.
In fact that first, memorable harvest, was a few weeks back now. It happened during the great technological meltdown which brought this blog to a grinding halt for six weeks. And there's still so much for me to catch up with. 
But today, for the first time since we moved in, having feasted on his rhubarb, apples and strawberries, having burned his wood in our fireplace, having borrowed no end of things from him, today I was finally able to give something to our neighbour, Don, which he doesn't grow himself.

Yes. Our investment in a modest asparagus bed is finally paying off.
All being good, we will be harvesting spears from these very same crowns for the next fifteen years or so.

For the moment though, we have another two weeks to enjoy our almost daily harvest before we again leave our asparagus plants to grow into wispy, fern-like plants.


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