Dear Asparagus

I don’t know why I can’t quit you.I keep trying to grow you, trying to make a home for you that you can keep coming back to, year after year. And I keep coming back, broken-hearted.
I try to tell myself that you aren’t worth it, my kids don’t like you, you’re difficult, you make my pee smell funny. But inside, I know it’s just a lie- I want you, I miss you. I find myself worried when you aren’t home, I find myself looking in the ditch, knowing that if I found you, I would bring you home and clean you up, cook you, and eat you. Maybe pickle you, if there was enough…

I just love you, and I can’t face paying 3.99 a pound for you at the grocery, and you aren’t even at the farmers market. At least not when I’ve been there. Are you avoiding me? It doesn’t matter- I forgive you. I’ll keep trying to make this relationship work. I’ll dig a trench near reliable water, but also in complete sun, I know how much you love the sunshine, I’ll plant out your little roots, and watch for your little shoots to poke out from the soft compost.  I just love you too much to give up on you.


Carrying a Torch



Be careful not to step in the big hole

At the beginning of the summer I was complaining about my lack of asparagus, and blamed it on lack of water. My super smart SIL was like, “you could put in a water feature, and where the water splashed out, that would provide moisture for the asparagus” and I was like, “yeah, I guess that would work, but…wait, I have a water feature!” Okay, the water feature is a horse trough, aka the Hillbilly Goldfish Pond,what would happen if I moved some asparagus plants over to  it?

See, at the end, it's like an infinity-edge pool, except not...

See, at the end, it’s like an infinity-edge pool, except not…

When I first set up the pond, I tamped down the soil to make it level, but over the couple of years of its existence , it has slumped down on the north side, so that is where I dug the hole. I don’t have a fountain, but when I refill it, it trickles over the side on that end. I dug down about 8 inches, added some compost, then transplanted an asparagus plant over from where they don’t get enough water.

A hole in the yard is not exactly the look I am going for, but I have high hopes for next year.

A hole in the yard is not exactly the look I am going for, but I have high hopes for next year.

As it grew, the plan was to add more compost, until the plant and the soil were at ground level. I watered the little baby asparagus the same way I water the containers around the pond- just before I feed the goldfish, I use a cup to dump water on each of the plants- they love the “nutrient rich” water. This worked great for a few weeks, then we went out of town, and I came back to nothing.
There wasn’t a dried up stem, it was just gone. I might blame rabbits, or squirrels, but the other asparagus plants, the ones that don’t get enough water? They are fine. Other than the fact that they don’t get enough water.
So, I put a little fence around the hole in the ground, and I will try again next year. I am convinced that the idea of putting asparagus near a water feature is a good one. Just try not to step in the hole, please.

What is your deal, Asparagus?

I ate 4 spears of homegrown, organic, purple asparagus the other day. And that might be all the asparagus I get to eat this year from my garden. This really bugs me- I love asparagus. This patch has been growing for maybe 4 years, and I planted another one 2 years ago, and I see no shoots coming up this year at all.
What the heck?! What is your deal?!
I followed planting instructions, I watered the new bed faithfully, I really want asparagus. The universe should give me what I want, right?
I suspect the issue is water. The asparagus that does well around here grows near irrigation ditches and cattle waste lagoons (yeah, that’s what it sounds like). This has been a wet spring, but a dry winter. We do live in a semi-desert. So if I want to grow asparagus here I need to water more, all summer.
I think what has been difficult about that is that you only pick asparagus for a few weeks in spring, but it needs water all year, and I have a hard time watering ferny foliage that doesn’t feed me. In my head, I think the ferny foliage should take care of itself.
What I came up with last night was maybe I should interplant some things that I do want to eat with the asparagus. Carrots? okay. Lettuce? cool. Beans? okay. I’ll water it like any other veggie garden.

it only looks like it is as tall as the fence- that's just an error in perspective.  This stalk is smaller than a pencil. Sigh.

it only looks like it is as tall as the fence- that’s just an error in perspective. This stalk is smaller than a pencil. Sigh.

So, I’ll try it. I’ll let you know how it goes.