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Asparagus does more than make your pee smell... it is loaded with nutrients, packed with antioxidants, has anti-aging properties and contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine! No matter the type you choose, asparagus is a tasty, versatile vegetable that can be cooked in myriad ways or enjoyed raw in salads.
Nutrition Facts: Raw Asparagus
Each asparagus plant is either male or female. Choose an all-male variety if high yield is your primary goal. Starting asparagus from 1-year-old crowns gives you a year’s head start over seed-grown plants. Two-year-old crowns tend to suffer more from transplant shock and won’t produce any faster than 1-year-old crowns. Buy crowns from a reputable nursery. Plant them immediately if possible; otherwise, wrap them in slightly damp sphagnum moss until you are ready to plant.
Planting and Growing Tips
To plant asparagus crowns, dig trenches 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep (8 inches in sandy soil) down the center of the prepared bed. Soak the crowns in compost tea for 20 minutes before planting. Place the crowns in the trenches 1½ to 2 feet apart; top them with 2 to 3 inches of soil. Two weeks later, add another inch or two of soil. Continue adding soil periodically until the soil is slightly mounded above surface level to allow for settling. Water regularly during the first two years.
Don’t harvest any spears during the first 2 years that plants are in the permanent bed. They need to put all their energy into establishing deep roots. During the third season, pick the spears over a 4-week period, and by the fourth year, extend your harvest to 8 weeks. In early spring, harvest spears every third day or so you might have to pick twice a day to keep up with production. Cut asparagus spears with a sharp knife or snap off the spears at ground level with your fingers.
Sautéed Garlic Asparagus
Ingredients: -3 Tbl butter/margarine -1 bunch fresh asparagus -3 garlic cloves, chopped Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and asparagus spears; cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until asparagus is tender. If you like your asparagus well done, reduce heat and cook an additional 10 minutes.