Asparagus is a unique and delicious perennial vegetable and one of the first to be ready to harvest each spring! An asparagus patch will last for decades, if properly cared for, giving reliable harvests every year.
Only the plant’s young shoots are commonly eaten; once the buds start to open, the shoots quickly turn woody and become strongly flavored. But those young shoots are tender, delicious and uniquely delectable among spring veggies.
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Asparagus is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium. This veggie is also a great source of chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. The amino acid asparagine gets its name from asparagus because the plant is rich in this compound.
Prepare your asparagus patch with fertile, well-drained soil with enough organic material to feed them. Plant asparagus crowns in early to mid-Spring for best results. Do not harvest them at all for the first year. Instead, let it grow completely to allow it to collect energy in the root crowns. You may harvest lightly the second year but, again, allow it to mostly grow. After the third year, and in each spring thereafter, a continual harvest of young shoots may commence.
After your spring harvest has completed, plants should be allowed to continue growing to complete their perennial cycle for the year. Asparagus officinalis is a flowering perennial plant species in the lily family that reaches 39-59 inches, when fully grown. Full-grown plants have fine, fern-like foliage with small bell-shaped white flowers that become red, toxic berries in the late summer. Click here for more detailed information on growing asparagus.