Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why We Need to Practice Skills or Oops! Asparagus...

You can't just wait until an emergency situation to plant a garden and have a lovely thriving garden overnight. 
In the past, I was never really successful at growing food. Between the dogs eating everything we planted (yes, my dogs love veggies & fruit) and my lack of a green thumb - it was a skill I needed to really learn about.

First Things First: Before we ever got started, we determined that there was a huge tree that was shading our proposed garden area. Because of the close proximity to our neighbors fence, we hired a professional to take down the tree. The nice thing was they actually cut the tree into logs (for the fireplace) and chipped the remains and left them for us. We didn't have to buy any wood chips for our garden.


How Will My Garden Grow: you need to determine how you are going to grow your garden. We chose the Back to Eden method. There are several excellent methods of growing a garden, this method really appealed to my lifestyle. 

Because I wanted to not use any chemicals...
The BTE method is really great. Below you will see the before & after pictures of how the soil changed in just one year. It went from red clay, to dark, moist, rich soil...see the earthworm in the pic?


                                                   Before                                   One Year Later

I grew everything from seed. So far, everything I have grown has been from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. There are other good companies out there, I just had seen Baker Creek recommend often. They sell all non-GMO, heirloom seeds. Exactly what my choice was. Besides the health issue, you will always be able to save seeds for your future gardening. I have been able to start saving seeds also. 

Raised Beds: For my first garden I chose raised beds and Square Foot Gardening.  (associates link) I found these methods were easier on my back. The second year I used the Three Sisters Method for planting my corn, squash and greens beans.

There is a learning curve for each vegetable: Start small to learn about growing each vegetable. Sounds simple, but thankfully I realized that before I started. I started with peas, green beans, carrots, melons, yellow crook neck squash, asparagus and corn. I still haven't mastered tomatoes, carrots & peas.
That being said, it's no different than storing preps: Grow What You Eat, Eat What You Grow.

Oops! Asparagus...
I am not planting a garden this year because of the move. This actually makes me sad in some ways, since I have learned to really like gardening. But the nice thing is I have last year's crop (minus tomatoes) canned and on my storage shelves.
 Well, actually everything is still in Jar Boxes in our new house. 
Anyway, I looked out my back door last week and oops...
My third year asparagus had popped up in the garden. Doing a happy dance. Asparagus is a perennial (continues to come back each year).

First, I had to learn about how to harvest the asparagus. Now that I knew how to harvest we ate some, gave some away and I have dehydrated several batches so far. 
1) Cut the spears when they reach the size of a pencil
2) Use a serrated knife
3) Continue to harvest every day (or every other day) for 8 weeks.
4) After the 8 weeks, let them "fern out" for the following year.

I have been harvesting spears each day now, I save them up in the fridge until I get a good sized batch, steam them, then dehydrated the asparagus. 

After dehydrating several batches, I vacuum sealed the asparagus. This will be a great addition to many recipes.  Next year I will be canning asparagus.

I will be transplanting my asparagus to our new home. When I do, I will be sharing that adventure. 

Top Three Picks: I participate in the Amazon Associates program, where I receive a small percentage of purchase made from my recommendations. As you can see from this post I only recommend items that I personally use (or something similar) and like. I always appreciate your help.


Granny Miller My beds get overgrown too! Probably the best way to deal with an overgrown asparagus bed is to burn off the growth in the late fall or early spring. But what I do is salt the entire bed with livestock salt because it is so close to a building. Asparagus loves salt. I use #50 or #100 bags of salt from the feed store. Burning or salting will keep the weeds down and under control. Good luck 
Future Ref: A Return To Simplicity: How To Grow Asparagus

No comments:

Post a Comment