If you are in to grow your own and eating seasonally then this has got to be a crop for you. We planted five asparagus three years ago and this year in the warm weather they are going mad.
You do need well drained soil and you do need to build up a hump to spread the plant roots over. Our bed is about 3 feet wide and 10 foot long at most. After that it needs little looking after, keep weed free, mulch, and after June leave the plants to go to ferns and build up their strength.
We have a good half dozen spears every day for the last week and that should go on till mid June. When we had only a few at the start I would slice them into an omelette for lunch. As the amount grows they become more of a major dish. I usually steam them or blanch quickly. Two lunch dishes this week have taken advantage of bits of pieces left in the fridge or freezer.
Firstly, in a hot dry frying pan heat up some sliced spicy meat - I had some left over spicy salami. When the juices run throw in some blanched asparagus and char slightly. Serve with grated hard cheese topping as a starter dish. Last week we had the first of our spring cauliflowers - so the asparagus topped a nice cauli cheese!
We have been out a few times this week so we have built up 2 days growth to be picked. Today they went mad and were up to 15 inches tall when we got home in the late afternoon. Temperatures up to 25 C all day and the plants just loved it.
Second dish I am trying when there are a good number of spears is to roast a dish full of asparagus with olive oil and black pepper till soft. Grate any cheese available to your taste - I had a bit of left over feta cheese one day which I mixed with a strong cheddar and that was good. Next time I tried mozzarella and Parmesan it was not so good. Any way, continue to bake in oven till cheese browns. Either top with bits of bacon or brown to a crisp some bacon on a separate dish and add to the top of the cheese later. Serve with a bit of salad makes a nice lunch.
Had half a dozen spears today so I sautéed them with half an onion, some left over boiled gammon chunks, a bit of red pepper and a big spoonful of mild chilli powder. Very tasty lunch with handful of salad leaves.
Monty Don on Gardener's World this Friday had an asparagus bed that was finally coming to fruition. Knowing he has very clay soil near Hereford I was surprised how flat it was!
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