Delicious asparagus in your garden
Once I bought seeds in a store, I saw bags of asparagus. I was even surprised if the very asparagus that gourmets so value? I decided to plant in my dacha, and to my surprise, the seeds sown directly in the ground came together amicably. And in the third year, I was already surprising guests with dishes from this little-known vegetable. So now I’d be happy to share my experience with you.
Since childhood, I knew asparagus, a common indoor plant, the branches of which are still decorated with bouquets. But then I did not know that the other name for asparagus is asparagus! The genus Asparagus (Asparagus) belongs to the Asparagus family and has more than 300 species of plants. Some species of asparagus are edible, called asparagus, they are grown as a vegetable plant, using young shoots as food. Other species are used only for decorative purposes. If this herbaceous perennial is planted singly, then over the years it will turn into a spectacular multi-stalked bush up to 1.5 m high. You can use asparagus as a green hedge.
You can use asparagus as a green hedge.
In Ukraine, 8 species of asparagus are found in the wild, the most common asparagus is the pharmaceutical asparagus officinalis L. The stalks are branched, covered with needle branches. The leaves resemble needles, but at the same time tender and soft. Flowers are inconspicuous, almost imperceptible, but the fruits are large, first red, then blacken. Berries are not edible. Each berry usually has 2-3 pieces of rather large black seeds. Red berries create an additional decoration for the bushes. In Europe, asparagus has been cultivated since ancient times. Dishes from it are very popular there. Our asparagus is just beginning to attract the attention of gourmets. Sometimes I hear from friends that they call asparagus the young pods of asparagus bean, which is also very tasty. Do not confuse, these are completely different vegetables.
What part of the plant can be eaten?
These are young spear-shaped shoots - “candles”, which reached a length of 18–20 cm. They appear from mid-spring to June. And the main thing is not to miss the harvest time, because over time the shoots will become tough and not suitable for eating. To harvest, the shoots must be carefully broken off, and you can cut with a knife in the place where it is cut easily, and soon new shoots will appear there.
The main thing is not to miss the harvest time, because over time the shoots will become stiff and not suitable for eating.
Asparagus is one of the earliest vegetables, and this is its added value. It is very useful because contains many vitamins and minerals, as well as the essential amino acid asparagine, which plays an important role in metabolic processes and has a beneficial effect on the nervous system. The product is low-calorie, so for those on a diet, it is especially useful.
How to grow asparagus?
There are 2 ways to grow: seedling and seedling.
- To get started, prepare a well-dug bed in a sunny place with light soil.
- Fertilize: a bucket of rotted manure or compost per 1 sq. meter. It is good to add 100 g of complex fertilizer for vegetables.
- After acquiring the seeds, soak them in water for 2-3 days, dry them slightly on filter paper or a napkin, and sow in the ground. You can sow dry seeds, but then you will have to wait 30 days for seedlings.
- Planting depth 2 cm, distance between seeds 5 cm, between rows 25-40 cm.
- This can be done in late April - mid-May. Do not forget to moisten the bed. Seeds germinate in 10-15 days.
- When the seeds sprout, the planting must be thinned so that the distance between seedlings is at least 15 cm.
- Growing seedlings can be done in February. Seeds should also be soaked preferably in warm water for about +30 degrees for 2-3 days, then put them on a damp cloth.
- When the first seedlings hatch, transplant them into glasses with a light soil mixture. Do not forget to monitor soil moisture.
- In mid-May, seedlings can be planted in open ground. By this time they have a height of about 15 cm.
Asparagus prefers rich, loose, well-cultivated soils. It does not tolerate acidic soils and close occurrence of groundwater. However, with a lack of spring moisture, the quality of the shoots deteriorates, they become fibrous and bitter. Pay attention to watering, especially if the spring is dry. But keep in mind that as a lack of moisture, and its excess, asparagus is harmful. With excessive moisture, the shoots can rot.
Care for beds with asparagus
In the first year care comes down to careful loosening of the soil and watering.
In the second year you need to make mineral fertilizers, loosen the soil and periodically water it.
In the third year in spring you will see already full-fledged young shoots that can be eaten. Since the roots of asparagus are formed just above ground level, the plant needs to be earthed annually and periodically applied universal fertilizers for vegetable crops. It should be noted that asparagus can grow for a long time in one place. It has been growing for me for 10 years and gives good harvests. Usually for food I choose the largest shoots, cut the rest in the summer to decorate bouquets. Asparagus has good winter hardiness and in the conditions of Ukraine it winters well without additional shelters. The plant is practically not damaged by pests and diseases. In any case, I have never encountered these problems in 10 years.
How to cook Asparagus
You probably noticed that in the store you can see asparagus white and green, and sometimes with a purple tint? White and green asparagus are not different varieties. The secret is that in order to obtain white asparagus, the beds are spudded as the young shoot grows so that the rays of the sun do not fall on it. That is, white asparagus is the same green, only there was more trouble with it. Therefore, I prefer green.
Basic cooking rules:
1. The shoots should be young and freshly cut (they are healthier and tastier).
2. Asparagus does not like a long heat treatment.
The main thing in cooking is not to digest the asparagus, it is enough to lower the shoots in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes or cook on the grill. Asparagus requires proper accompaniment. She is good in salads with other vegetables, lemon juice and olive oil. It is combined with cheeses, ham and mayonnaise. Asparagus puree soups are also popular.
Of course, now you can buy asparagus in the supermarket, but how interesting it is to grow it in your garden! Moreover, this is not difficult at all. True, it will be possible to feast only on the 3rd year after planting. But you can wait, because the plant itself is very decorative and will decorate the site with its gentle twigs. The only problem is the beauty of the plant itself, which poses a dilemma: cut it for food, or leave it to decorate the site.