A Sure Sign of Spring in Michigan: Asparagus
I finally made it out to my garden last weekend, and there it was. A sure sign of spring. Asparagus! I had enough big juicy purple spears for dinner, and there’ll be a lot more in the coming weeks. What a great thing to have growing in your yard or garden! I didn't have to do a thing except bend down and snap off a dozen spears.
I would have had more, but my dog, Mugsie, snapped off a couple himself and gobbled them down. Mugsie does what I do in the garden, so if I pick stuff, he picks stuff. And he loves vegetables!
After a winter of those skinny, spindly bunches from the store, I’m ready to enjoy the good stuff.
- Michigan Asparagus season begins in late April-early May in our area and wraps up in late June up North.
- It takes four years for an asparagus patch to fully mature; fields last for approximately 20 years.
- Asparagus spears can grow 1/2 inches per hour under ideal conditions. Sometimes you can pick twice a day.
- Purple asparagus is relatively new and is a product of conventional plant breeding (not genetically engineered). Purple asparagus has caught on as a novelty vegetable and - as a result - there is a worldwide shortage of purple asparagus seed.
- A single asparagus plant can produce 25 or more spears over the 7-week harvest season.
- Once the harvest is complete, the remaining spears are allowed to grow up and leaf out. These plants will grow up to six feet tall and, once leafed, will look like giant ferns. This fern is nurtured all summer and feeds the root system for the following year's harvest.
Later this week, I'll get into the health benefits of eating asparagus, and we'll have some tips for putting in your own patch. Don't forget to tune into 95.3 WBCK on line for Bob Coward and the WBCK Garden Show every Saturday at 9am. Call 441-9595 with your questions or email them to Nate Adams, at firstname.lastname@example.org