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Blog: Growing Asparagus, A Love Story

Trying to grow asparagus this spring? Read on for growing tips and recipes.

I grow many of the herbs we use for dishes and cocktails at Cuvée at The Greenporter Hotel and have even managed to grow tomatoes, peas and onions in a limited space.  We have even been blessed with the occasional self-sprouting potato or pumpkin from compost.  But it is the Asparagus Officinalis, a flowering perrenial, that I planted three years ago that eludes me.  Asparagus has been grown since ancient Egyptian and Roman times and in 2012, I am still waiting for the stalks to emerge in my garden in Greenport.  I started the asparagus from seeds, soaking them in lukewarm water for 48 hours, according to the instructions.  I planted the seeds in 15-inch trenches, 18 inches apart. And still no asparagus.  

Asparagus is supposed to grow well in porous soil of stone and gravel like we have on the North Fork.  We are the same latitude as Bordeaux and share the same sea-side terroir.  This is why wine makers have been able to cultivate vinifera grapes and produce world-class wines, yet I am struggling with the asparagus officinalis. 

Fortunately, I felt vindicated as I called on gardening expert, Michael Horn, Chief of Seed Inventory Control at Long Island Cauliflower Association.  "We don't carry asparagus seeds because of the difficulty and time it takes to grow.  What we do offer are 25 bare roots that we sell for under $25". 

Lucky for those of us on the North Fork, the soon-to-open Greenport Farmers Market and farm stands along Route 25 and 48 will be carrying plenty of asparagus and other spring vegetables.  And perhaps in year four, I may finally conquer this elusive love and harvest my own asparagus. 

For Asparagus on the farm stands visit:  Seps Farm Stand in East Marion, Wickhams's Fruit Farm in Cutchogue, Briemere Farms in Jamesport, Greenporter Farmer's Market

Recipes: For an easy and delicious spring asparagus brunch ideas, try grilled asparagus with poached eggs on www.seasonedfork.com.

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BOB GHOSIO JR. April 20, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I've been eating my homegrown Jersey Giant asparagus now for 2 weeks! Earlier than usual but I'm so glad. Nothing more delicious and tender than pick and cook asparagus. Planted the patch along with some horseradish 3 years ago from root stock and now it's really established. I use 10-10-10 once a year for fertilizer and that's it...
Kristen Rishe April 20, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Seps is open in East Marion. Nothing better
Deborah Pittorino April 21, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Sounds amazing. Would love to see a photo of your patch. Must be beautiful. I am definitely going the way of root stock next year!
Deborah Pittorino April 21, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Thanks for the tip!
Deborah Pittorino April 21, 2012 at 08:05 PM
That's where this week's asparagus is from!

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