Ruminations On Asparagus

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Jan 27, 2020
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For those of you who like a bit of lemon either a squeeze or some zest I highly recommend you buy a jar of preserved lemons. I cut a small piece and chop it very finely to use with most my asparagus dishes.
 
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I also hear it is hard to get rid of once it gets established, but have no personal experience growing asparagus
It is a fern. If you have an established bed that you want to turn into a lawn, just mow it down. Once the grass starts growing over it, the fern will die back. It doesn't like when things compete with it for nutrients.
If you have it in your garden, and want to get rid of it to plant something else, just dig up the roots. Someone will want the roots.
In a few weeks, I let them turn into ferns again, and this strengthens the roots for next year. Then in the fall, I will cover it in rabbit manure to let it feed over the winter, to get fat spears next Spring. If I forget to do that, it isn't terrible, just means the stalks will be thinner. But, it will still taste good.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
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60,419
My wife likes it roasted and I like it steamed so it is fairly soft, but we'll both eat it either way. Julia Chiid insisted the lower part of the stalk (even after you've broken off the white less edible part) should be peeled, so that is how my wife likes it. She met Julia and interviewed her for a story.

I'm most interested to find out that asparagus is a fern! That I would not have suspected.
 
My wife likes it roasted and I like it steamed so it is fairly soft, but we'll both eat it either way. Julia Chiid insisted the lower part of the stalk (even after you've broken off the white less edible part) should be peeled, so that is how my wife likes it. She met Julia and interviewed her for a story.

I'm most interested to find out that asparagus is a fern! That I would not have suspected.
I also grow fiddleheads, which tastes a little like asparagus also, except a tad sweeter.
 
Jan 27, 2020
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8,120
I also grow fiddleheads, which tastes a little like asparagus also, except a tad sweeter.

Oh, I had no idea fiddlehead ferns were able to be cultivated- I assumed they were all foraged. Care to share some information about growing them? I haven't grown any asparagus either but have be considering putting some crowns in at some point.
 
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Oh, I had no idea fiddlehead ferns were able to be cultivated- I assumed they were all foraged. Care to share some information about growing them? I haven't grown any asparagus either but have be considering putting some crowns in at some point.
I had a friend with 800 acres, and we took a cart out and dug up about 100 plants. I transplanted them into my front shrub beds. So, I can now forage through my front yard for them. I also inadvertently dug up a bunch of trilliums, which now live in my front yard.
 

canucklehead

Lifer
Aug 1, 2018
2,852
15,198
Alberta
It is a fern. If you have an established bed that you want to turn into a lawn, just mow it down. Once the grass starts growing over it, the fern will die back. It doesn't like when things compete with it for nutrients.
If you have it in your garden, and want to get rid of it to plant something else, just dig up the roots. Someone will want the roots.
In a few weeks, I let them turn into ferns again, and this strengthens the roots for next year. Then in the fall, I will cover it in rabbit manure to let it feed over the winter, to get fat spears next Spring. If I forget to do that, it isn't terrible, just means the stalks will be thinner. But, it will still taste good.
Because I am incurably pedantic, I feel the need to point out that asparagus is technically not a fern, it is closely related to lilies and even more closely related to alliums (garlic, onion, etc). It was considered to be part of the lily family until relatively recently.
 
Jan 27, 2020
4,002
8,120
I had a friend with 800 acres, and we took a cart out and dug up about 100 plants. I transplanted them into my front shrub beds. So, I can now forage through my front yard for them. I also inadvertently dug up a bunch of trilliums, which now live in my front yard.

So how many of the plants you replanted woukd you say managed to survive and thrive?
 
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Because I am incurably pedantic, I feel the need to point out that asparagus is technically not a fern, it is closely related to lilies and even more closely related to alliums (garlic, onion, etc). It was considered to be part of the lily family until relatively recently.
True, it is not a true fern... but it looks, acts, and grows just like a fern. If you saw them growing wild, you'd say, "look at those ferns," but it's technically not.
 
So how many of the plants you replanted woukd you say managed to survive and thrive?
Absolutely every single one. I mean, I only transplanted them a few miles away from where they were growing with about two gallons of native soil kept with each one. Plus, I am an excellent gardener. In college, I worked for the campus and the botanical gardens to work my way through college. I had to take classes in horticulture to stay on at both.
 

canucklehead

Lifer
Aug 1, 2018
2,852
15,198
Alberta
I had a friend with 800 acres, and we took a cart out and dug up about 100 plants. I transplanted them into my front shrub beds. So, I can now forage through my front yard for them. I also inadvertently dug up a bunch of trilliums, which now live in my front yard.
My native aunt in the PNW has fiddleheads all over her property, in edible season she has to protect them from hippies that trespass to harvest them for resale in farmer's markets. She's had multiple generations of big old hound dogs named Henry just for the purpose of scaring away hippies.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,550
29,134
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
Now I want asparagus….

I looked into growing some at home since we run through it pretty quickly. Then found out it takes about 3 years to really get your crop growing. Between lack of patience and having terrible plant luck(I.e. if it doesn’t yell at me for food, I’m going to forget about it) I just don’t see that as a realistic goal.
Ha I don't know if it's proper to say we grew it or it grew it's self. But I loved the fresh stuff that showed up one day growing in the weeds on the edge of the property. The amount of effort was less then buying it at the store.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,550
29,134
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
My favorite way to cook asparagus is to fry with with a tad bit of bacon grease, garlic, and sprinkle with parmesan when fried to a good dark sear.

I have also chopped them and battered them to tempura fry them, and then dip them in a homemade parmesan butter.

I have also been known to just eat one fresh out of the garden.
I think the best ones I've had where tempura fried from our local amazing Japanesse steak and sushi place. One of their offers is tempura vegies and it's one of the few places I will order vegetarian stuff from because it's that freaking good. Their soft shell crab though is pretty darn amazing. But the best which isn't always available is their Skipjack.
 

mawnansmiff

Lifer
Oct 14, 2015
7,356
7,230
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Because I am incurably pedantic, I feel the need to point out that asparagus is technically not a fern, it is closely related to lilies and even more closely related to alliums (garlic, onion, etc). It was considered to be part of the lily family until relatively recently.
I remember an old boy farmer back when I lived in Suffolk always referred to it as 'sparrow-grass'.

Asparagus officinalis, family Liliaceæ

Etymology: Latin, < Greek ἀσπάραγος, properly ἀσϕάραγος, of doubtful origin.
In medieval Latin often sparagus , sparagi (Old Italian sparagi , sparaci ), found in English c1000. Thence also modern Italian sparagio , German spargen , Middle French esperage , and English sperage , the common name in 16th and early 17th cent., occasionally, from etymological notions, made sperach (after smallache , smallage , etc.: see ache n.2), or sparage.

About 1600 the influence of herbalists and horticultural writers made asparagus familiar, and this in the aphetic form 'sparagus at length displaced sperage, but was itself by folk etymology changed before 1650 to sparagrass, sparrow-grass, and this remained the name in polite use during the 18th cent. Botanists still wrote asparagus, but according to Walker Pron. Dict. 1791, ‘Sparrow-grass is so general that asparagus has an air of stiffness and pedantry.’ During the 19th century asparagus returned into literary and polite use, and sparrow-grass became deprecated, though ‘grass’ still occurred in cookery books.

The above is courtesy of the OED.

Regards,

Jay.