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What vegetable is low in calories, high in fiber, a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—and tastes delicious? Asparagus, of course. And, since yesterday was April Fools Day—no fooling!
Because it does not have an outer coating like many vegetables, asparagus begins to decline in quality shortly after being picked. You can keep it best by keeping the cut stems in an inch or so of water. But fresh is always better.
Asparagus plants are available now and very easy to grow. To grow your own, choose a sunny well-draining spot. Remember that it is perennial and will come back for many years to give it a spot where it can grow undisturbed.
Amend your soil with a mixture of regular compost and composted cow manure. Because asparagus prefers soil with a neutral pH, test your soil and amend, if necessary. Loosen the soil to a depth of about 12 inches and plant crowns two inches below the soil surface. Space plants two feet apart.
Asparagus does not like to compete for water and nutrients so mulch well and keep weeded.
Do not harvest spears the first season after planting, to allow roots to get well-established. The second spring harvest no more than two to three spears per plant. The third year, you can harvest for a period of four to six weeks, or until the new spears being produced are no bigger around than a pencil.
As a bonus, here is my super-easy version of Lemon-Pepper Asparagus:
I preheat the oven to 400 degrees, drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with the lemon-pepper and garlic salt. I roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes or until tender. Yes, I could use fresh-squeezed lemon and fresh ground pepper, but I don’t always have a lemon hanging around. This way, I don’t have to….
We have fresh asparagus crowns so come in while the selection is good.