- Facts about asparagus
- Cultivation of asparagus
- Good to know
- Interesting facts
What is asparagus?
The Latin name for asparagus, we consume today, is Asparagus officinalis. There are more than 100 species of asparagus, including those that are decorative and are grown as domestic plants. Asparagus is perennial papilionaceous which, due to professional cultivation, can be produced for 10 or even more years, until it grows so thin that its further cultivation can be deemed unproductive. Then, it is time for new plants.
Asparagus, as the first messengers of the spring, are endowed by the aura of heartiness. The Ancient Greeks used asparagus as medical plants. Ready made roots of asparagus were used for treatment of illnesses, associated with liver, gallbladder, kidneys and urinary bladder. The plant’s leaves and seeds were considered as a relief from toothaches.More
The nutritional value
Green asparagus is a plant rich in vitamin A, C and folic acid. The amount zinc and calcium is significant, as well as other biologically active substances found in plant.More
Green and white asparagus
Natural asparagus are green, but the sprouts are bleached by covering them with soil. The covering with soil is the factor that makes the difference between green and white asparagus, since all the asparagus are originally green. For example, species in Germany or Netherlands that are grown as white asparagus, in Sweden are grown as green asparagus.More
Male and female plants
There are separate male and female plants of asparagus. Both have blossoms but male plants are bigger than female plants. Fruits similar to berries that turn red in the autumn and are used in flower designs, only develop on female plants. However, these fruits take the energy away from the plant, and as a result, male plants yield 10-15% higher harvest. Consequently, speaking of professional cultivation of asparagus, not in the households, preference is given to female plants.
The root system
Asparagus have a huge root system. Roots are like flashy tuberous plants that grow horizontally in the soil which also develop peripheral roots, as a result, after some years the plant is pushed above the soil surface. Therefore, the accurate planting depth is very important. At the same time, roots grow and stretch in a circular way to all the directions. The thin peripheral roots are sensitive that is one of the reasons why asparagus plants are so difficult to relocate or separate.
The soil has to be dry, with a low content of sand and mud, with plenty of room for the roots of asparagus to spread both horizontally and vertically. For the cultivation of white asparagus, the soil has to be sandy so that the plants could be covered with the sand. The common garden soil is also suitable for green asparagus. The asparagus can be cultivated in other soils as well, however, their stems would grow thin with the small harvest to be gained. The soil has to be prepared prior to planting of asparagus by removing the weeds. The planting has to be made in the depth of 40 cm, by scarifying the soil around the plant and mixing into the compost to increase the humus content.
The selection of the place
Spacious and sunny location is the most appropriate for asparagus. Being even partially under the shadow reduces the amount of the harvest. Asparagus is the heat loving plant, though there are no problems to pass the winter in colder climates. However, in this case, you shouldn’t expect rich harvest. The place selection is already important from the start, since the plants do not appreciate to have them removed. The soil, previously used for cultivation of asparagus cannot be used for the same purpose again- it requires a period of 10-20 years for the asparagus to be planted in the same place again.
The selection of plants
The experience of asparagus cultivation in different places is different therefore particular attention must be paid to the selection of the sort (of asparagus). Every sort has its characteristic features.More
The planting season for asparagus is from April till the beginning of June- as soon as the soil is unfrozen, but not too dried up, either. The recommended distance between plants is from 25 till 40 cm, but the distance between rows of plants is from 1,2 to 1,5 meters. The distance between the row of plants and the grass or fence should be at least from 50 to 75 centimeters, enough space for leaves to spread. Plant furrows should be about 15-16 centimeters deep and 20 centimeters wide at the bottom, enough space for the roots to stretch. The plants have to be placed in furrows one after the another, by stretching out roots and covering plants with 6-8 centimeters thick layer of soil, so that the whole plant is completely covered.
Fertilization and watering
Asparagus is quite demanding plant in terms of nutrients, for which the occurrence of weeds is not be allowed, so that the harvest of the plants wouldn’t be reduced. The soil has to be fertilized in the same year before planting, 0,5kg of fertilizers for the area of 10 square meters, as well as in the middle of the summer. There’s no need for further fertilization.More
The year the asparagus are planted has to be allowed for their growing, without harvesting them, even if they yield any harvest. The next year, if the plants have grown well- more than 50 centimeters tall and flashy, the first sprouts can be harvested. All of the sprouts have to be harvested, even the thinner, when they have reached the length of 22 centimeters. Besides, it has to be done before the blossoming of the buds. They are allowed to be cut for maximum 10 days, after that they have to continue growing. In the second year after the planting, the harvest can be collected all through May, in the third year also in some part in June, but in subsequent years up till the summer Solstice. We have to remember about fertilization if we want asparagus to grow flashy and accumulate strength for the next seasons. Following the correct procedures of growth and maintenance, asparagus will yield harvest for the next 10 to 15 years, possibly longer.
Tips for storage of asparagus
Asparagus are perishable products therefore they have to be bought when just harvested. The buds must be hard while stems have to be cut and elastic.More
Boiling and serving
If asparagus are to be served as a snack, 150 grams are to be calculated per person, about 250 grams per person as a garnish to main meal but 500grams per person if asparagus is served as the main course.More
The selection of wine
Some say wine is not recommended to be served by asparagus, although asparagus and wine are an excellent combination.More
Are berries poisonous?
By the end of the summer beautiful and red berries appear on some of the species of asparagus, like RAMBO, therefore the question is, whether or not these berries are poisonous? Neither in Sweden, Germany or Netherlands where the cultivation of asparagus is very common, there are registered cases of people being poisoned by eating these berries. However, as it is indicated in the book, published in Germany about asparagus, eating more than 10 berries may lead to stomach aches or vomiting. To relieve the pain, a lot of water has to be consumed.
What’s the smell?
Many of us wonder why urine has such a specific smell after consuming asparagus. The answer is quite simple- this is our body’s chemical reaction since substances of sulphur content are found in asparagus, though it is not evident for all the consumers of asparagus. In about 20-30 minutes time after eating asparagus, as a result of digestion processes, our body emits sulphur smell. It is nothing dangerous and is over in few hours time.