How Asparagus gets in fence rows.
It has been a mild winter, and spring is springing! This is a time of anticipation for me. The peach and pear trees have lost their blooms. The apple trees are covered with white and pink petals. I will have to wait a while to harvest those tasty fruits, but there are a few morsels that are in season.
That cool morning air, the wet dew covered grass, fog hangs over ponds and in the valleys. Birds chirp as the sun rises and off in the distance a Tom turkey can no longer hold back amorous feelings... Gobblegobblegobble! Crank up the sound in this video, you will hear him beyond the fog covered pond.
Pointy asparagus spears are poking their way through grass along the fence rows. In the woods, dew drips from branches to the woody forest floor where a new morel mushroom has emerged. The musty smell of earth being turned over for planting hangs in the damp air like a promise. Soon there will be fresh, earthy goodness to eat. I will watch, listen, and smell until they are ready. The anticipation is killing me!
The cool temperatures are slowing my garden progress. There are other things to harvest around the farm. In an earlier post, I described the method for making horseradish. That can be done very early in the spring. The next thing to show up is a little harder to find. Once the grass gets growing, this food is growing too. Asparagus! The little purple-green shoots hide in tall grass very well. The best way I know to find it is by looking for the dead plants from the previous year. Some of the shoots inevitably get to large and grow into a showy fern-like bush with red berries. The dried up asparagus plants give away the location for new shoots to pop up.
When looking for asparagus, remember trespassing rules. If you find some, you can bet someone else has been harvesting there, or may even have planted it. I would suggest planting some yourself. Un-mowed fence rows are excellent places to plant. You can find the roots at most stores offering garden seeds and supplies. You won't get any asparagus from the newly planted roots this year. The 3rd year seems best to begin harvesting. 3 years?!? Well, like fruit trees, if you don't plant this year, it will be 4 years, then 5! My favorite things to harvest are the ones I don't have to fuss with all year. Asparagus, horseradish, rhubarb, fruits, and nuts all fall into this category. Once they are planted, you can come back year after year for more goodies. Don't put it off any longer. Go plant some asparagus roots. You will thank me in a few years.