Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Asparagus


Asparagus

May be a funny title for a blog, but it will be very boring for me and anyone reading this if it is going to be a day by day account of our doings on the allotment! Anyway it is cold and wet here in Cork on today 21st May!

What better product of our short Irish summer than asparagus ,which has nearly a shorter season! I know it is available all the year round now from the southern hemisphere but I like mine less travelled, with just a short jaunt from plot to pot.
A gardener needs to have patience to sow seeds and wait for them to grow,but for the most part this is done in one season. If it is biennial it takes slightly longer but asparagus is what separates the potterers from the gardeners and really tests the patience! It takes 3, yes 3 long years to harvest your first crop! Last year when we started I went looking for seeds and some information and found both equally hard to come by. I phoned our local radio programme C103 fm which has a gardening slot every Wednesday.The questions are put to Peter Dowdall who runs a very good garden centre. He not alone had information but had 1 year old plants for sale
So I hot footed down there and bought 4 plants. I know...only 4 ,but last year we did not have enough ground prepared as we had a lot of clearing to do

  1. It was to be planted in ground which had not been fertilized for at least a year.

  2. I bought 4 pots with wavy fronds in them, which were to be allowed to die back.

  3. They in no WAY resembled asparagus

  4. Thank God I had the good sense to mark where they were before they died back.

  5. I have been told by Zwenia our allotment owner, who looked it up in her plant bible for me ,that it is originally a seaside plant and loves a mulch of seaweed !
  6. I thought it had failed for some reason this year as there was no sign of it, in the space of 4 days the spears were up about 6 ins. and they actually look like asparagus this year. At the moment there is only one spear per plant which is not a very good return.

  7. I still have to buy to eat this year and leave our own plants it die back again.

  8. I am going to buy more plants this year and make that a permanent bed as we have rhubarb at the other end so there will be no unnecessary digging to disturb the babies!
  9. Availability ; supermarkets, if you must but I would head for the nearest Farmer's market. They are held here in Ireland around the country towns and are gaining in popularity even in and near cities.
  10. More later I will get a list of local ones.

Recipes

There are quite a few available at the moment in various magazines, but I think simple and fast is the secret to cooking and eating asparagus.

The best way for me is in the 'baby george' or any health grill. Lay the spears side by side and give about 4 mins. Serve with butter ( salted) like Kerrygold not any of those imposters of 'dairy' spreads.

Put the spears in a pan of boiling water for about 3 to 4 mins and drain. Serve as above. Sea salt is the best to season lightly probably a throw back to its seaside origins!

Any other recipes or advice on growing would be welcome.Leave in 'comments'








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