Rhonda West reporting from Scott County.
This spring vegetable will make your stomach happy in more ways than one. It is delicious and loaded with prebiotics, compounds that promote the growth of good bacteria in your stomach. While green, white, and purple asparagus taste relatively the same – and they are all good sources of vitamins A and C – the violet-hued spears pack extra antioxidants that may help keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in check. Any of them are great in these easy and simple recipes.
As an eggplant side: Tossed trimmed asparagus spears with olive oil and salt to taste. Roast on a baking sheet at 450 degrees F for 8 – 10 minutes, until tender, top with a grated hardboiled egg before serving.
In a speedy stir-fry: Sauté trimmed, chopped asparagus with chopped snow peas in refined sesame oil over medium-high heat until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Toss with soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds, serve warm.
Shaved, in a salad: With a vegetable peeler, shave trimmed asparagus spears and peeled carrots into long ribbons. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Raised beds are idea for planting asparagus.
Prepare the beds and your soil to rid it of any weed, even if this takes a while. It is crucial to get rid of all the grass and weed in the planting area.
Asparagus will not grow or tolerate weed competition. Asparagus hates competition of any kind.
Once the bed is clear of grass and weed and ready for planting, dig a trench about 12” deep and about a foot wife. Asparagus crowns should be planted in about 18 “intervals. Then add an all-purpose, organic fertilizer. Rock phosphate is another good addition. This helps to support root growth. You only have one chance to fortify the root zone so don’t miss it. The crown should be about 6” below the planting surface. Cover the roots right up to the crown with garden soil. Then water.
As I said before the weeds will start to grow and you need to weed them out quickly. You will need to weed by hand because the asparagus roots are so shallow. Stay on top of the weeds, asparagus does not thrive with this competition. You will want to mulch the area to help prevent weed growth.
Even with the most abundant care, an asparagus bed will not hit its stride for a few years. But once it does happen it will produce and abundance of spear crop, spring after spring. For at least 20 to 25 years!