Did you know that one of the popular varieties of asparagus are called Fat Bastards? Funny I know, but when you see them grow, you realise why…they really are fat!
Anyway, the point is, that I spent some time in the garden last week and one of my jobs was to prune the asparagus…which I have to say, was a pretty nerve wracking experience!
I am not sure how much you know about asparagus, but lets just say it is a lesson in delayed gratification as it is not until year 3 that you are really meant to start harvesting the spears for eating, until then, you have to let them grow and turn into ferns, so they put all their energy into growing the crown beneath the ground.
Well we have 3 year old asparagus which we have been enjoying small numbers of this year and I decided we had better get a bit more serious in how we manage it.
So, I read up on asparagus growing and apparently in commercial production, at the end of the season (into autumn) they mow the asparagus.
This thought gives me shivers, but in the spirit of becoming a more rounded (and diligent) gardener, I started with a gentle prune of a few of the spindly fine ferns that grow from beneath the ground. It didn’t seem to hurt them, so a day or two later, I did the rest.
Rather than damaging the asparagus, which of course rationally I knew it wouldn’t…but seeing is believing, this careful pruning actually spurred them on and we have been harvesting a few extra spears every day for breakfast, which is super exciting really, since we are now well into autumn and asparagus is technically a summer veg.
The miracle of asparagus, apart from the fact that they emerge silently and quickly from beneath the ground, with little warning and no fan fare, is that when they are just picked and gently pan fried or steamed, they are soooo sweet..I mean, almost too sweet to be a savory vegetable and they go incredibly well with eggs and silverbeet for breakfast, so that i what we have been having!
We so have to get more asparagus in…what a treat it is going to be to serve it in the Hungry Spirit Cafe when it is open…one of these days