Hoping for Asparagus

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Mary Washington Asparagus Fail

Thin Pickin's

We finally did see two tiny tufted sprouts from the Mary Washington asparagus bed. I was actually about to dig the whole thing up to see what happened to them when I noticed the first one. Chalk it up to the weird wet cold spring. It’s not enough to keep me from over planting the bed in Tarahumara Chokame black beans, Catalina Spinach and Charentais melons. But still, two of the asparagus crowns are alive in there, and I left them enough space (I hope!) to develop through the summer and put down some roots for next year.

Asparagus from Seed

Italian Asparagus from Seed

My real hope is the Asparago Precoce d’Argentuil that I started from seed May 15th. Many of them have sprouted. They are tiny, thin, tall, fluffy things that move in the slightest breeze. I took this picture on the Sports/Action setting and it’s still not totally in focus. I probably breathed near them. In another week or two I will pot up the ones that I get into their own 4″ pots where they will spend the rest of this year. It takes about 305 days to get asparagus from this stage to the point where they have developed enough root crowns to go into the ground. That should see these guys planted out mid-March of 2011 ‘God willing and the creek don’t rise,’ as my Daddy would have said.

Asparagus Fronds

Purple Passion Fronds

There is one other hope in the asparagus department for next spring. In the fall of 2009 I put in four potted asparagus roots; two Mary Washington and two Purple Passion. They seem to have over-wintered well in spite of the onions, lettuce and carrots that surrounded them all year. Now they are sending up tall, broad fronds that should be nourishing the roots below and might give us our first taste of home grown asparagus next year. The potted roots were at least a year old when I bought them, so in the spring of 2011 they might be pushing three. If we’re lucky, and that creek don’t rise. ;-)

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