Asparagus

Post last updated: November 21st, 2019

This is my asparagus bed. I think I ate an asparagus once but left to my own devices, I don’t actually choose to eat asparagus. I mean, they look like little trees, you know? However, I am trying to eat more veggies and less meat soooooo if I should happen to get some of those little trees to come up in this bed, I’ll have to acquire a taste for trees.

My asparagus project started last spring when I bought a package of NK Lawn & Garden “Mary Washington” asparagus seeds at Big Lots for a dollar. I can sometimes be tempted by dollar items. The asparagus project never quite got into the ground last year and this spring I stumbled onto some bagged asparagus at Wal-Mart for $2.98. I wasn’t in the mood to give them $2.98 until I was half-way across town at another Wal-Mart searching for them taters. For some odd reason, that Wal-Mart had reduced the price of the bagged asparagus by 50%. I bought two bags so they still got their $2.98. At home, I discovered that my NK seeds and the bagged crowns were both “Mary Washingtons.” Convenient but it wouldn’t have mattered to me since the seeds are a year old and might not sprout. Some seeds are time sensitive. At this point, I have four dollars in my asparagus project. Not bad.

Asparagus are perennials requiring a location that is undisturbed from year to year. The only way something is not going to be disturbed in my yard is to put it in a container. Well. It just so happened that Poppie had put several pieces of four and five foot cedar out at the curb for trash pick-up. I promptly hauled it back in, hiding it out behind the garage. I knew it would come in handy for a garden project where I didn’t want to use pressure treated lumber. Voila, asparagus box! Poppie has been teaching me some sawing and hammering skills, at my request, and he just happens to have the wood shop with almost everything, so I got in there and built myself an asparagus box and painted it. Zero dollars in the box for my asparagus project. Most excellent.

The next day I installed the box and chunked in some peat, perlite and Miracle-Gro potting soil. I was thinking there would be plenty of room for my NK seeds and the six asparagus crowns because they never give you very many in these plastic packages. I pick up the first package and I see, right there at the top of the package, the words “6 crowns.” Oops. That means I’ve got to cram twelve crowns into a two foot box (26” x 22”). “Well guys, it’s gonna be a little crowded. Pretend it’s New York City, okay?”

I flip to the back of the package to give the printed directions a cursory inspection. Oops. Eight to twelve inches apart. Well, that ain’t happenin’. It’s beginning to dawn on me in my dotage that I should read the directions before I approach the cashier.

It got worse. After removing the rubber band and separating the crowns, I found that I had ten crowns in each bag for a grand total of twenty. Somebody at the packing plant got tired of looking at a mound of asparagus crowns and got generous with their arithmetic. I looked at my little two foot box and muttered, “This ain’t happenin’ either.” I ultimately crammed a dozen crowns in the box then looked inside the NK seed packet hoping for three seeds. Of course not. There were enough seeds to plant the back quarter acre. I just shook my head. Another cursory inspection of the directions revealed a need to soak the seeds for 24-48 hours giving me more time to ponder my quickly sinking asparagus project.

At this point, the absolute worst scenario for my bungled asparagus project is the dumb-luck likelihood of having my plate runneth over with little trees I will have to get serious about eating. In the meantime, I’ve probably got one more asparagus-free year.

Meta was the first to alert me that asparagus can’t be grown in Florida. I have five feet of fern to prove we can grow the plant even if we can’t grow the edible spears — 8/26/12.

8 thoughts on “Asparagus”

  1. I love Asparagus. When living in Michigan we had 2 acres and across the whole back of the yard was Washington Asparagus plants. They are the best tasting. Every day I would snap them at ground level and next day back up ready to be picked. My trouble was I would eat more than ever made it to the house. To me, the best is about the top 3 inches snap; it is so tender. Boy does this bring back memories. Good Luck.

    1. Hey Nancy! Ah, I hadn’t thought of eating them in the yard. They would surely taste better that way because cherry tomatoes never make it in the house. Am currently soaking the packet of asparagus seeds. I might put them elsewhere to avoid crowding. Got a new spot they could go in. Saw a photo of the ferny tops of asparagus. I kinda like that!

  2. I did not know we could grow them here in Florida. I’ll be watching your project.
    I live in North Central Florida.

    1. Ah, then I am SAVED. I won’t have to eat trees. I’ll admit to doing absolutely NO research on this. I simply purchased the seeds and the crowns. But your comment sent me to the University of Florida website and they said: “Florida’s warm and wet climate does not usually induce the long dormant period asparagus needs to produce spears.” That settles it. The seeds I’m soaking will be planted in the asparagus bed since none of it is likely to produce. You really have to watch places like Wal-Mart. They put plant material on the shelf that absolutely will not grow here. Like peonies.

  3. I try not to plant anything I don’t like to eat. But I do like asparagus. Last year I planted several out in the ‘big garden’, which was tilled up by my husband later on. 🙁 So, this year I made an asparagus container and have little trees already coming up! It’s exciting. BUT I’ve heard not to eat them for the first 2-3 years. Must do more research on that. Good luck with your asparagus!

    1. I hear you, girl! I don’t plant okra ’cause I ain’t eatin’ that stuff. I was gonna consider eating the asparagus but okra ain’t on the list, ever. At least I’m not the only one who planted the stuff without doing enough research. Meta tells me I can’t grow asparagus here and it was confirmed by the University of Florida website. Now I’ve made an idiot of myself in public! What else is new?

  4. Too funny – just your luck that you would have your garden overrun with vegetables that you’re not sure if you really like or not! I actually like asparagus, but my favorite way to eat them is sautéed with bacon, which probably cancels out all the health benefits of eating the asparagus in the first place!

    1. Yep, Indie, the bacon probably cancels out the health benefits but we gotta have our bacon for flavoring, don’t we? There’s just nothing like it. I was over at your place yesterday drooling over your photos of bees, birds and butterflies. In your photography section, I found out how you’re doing it — a marvelous telephoto lens. What good fortune!

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