The Edible Garden / Issue 4 / 'Grow for Taste' by Mark Diacono
Photo Jason Ingram
"Think of asparagus as a mini tree, and an asparagus patch as a small orchard, and you'll overcome any sens of hesitancy at having to wait a little while for your first crop. You can grow asparagus from seed but it's best to get young plants known as crowns. Plant them, and the year after next, you'll be cutting succulent spears and for 20 years or more after too. You may be able to get two-year-old crowns, in which case you need wait only a year to allow the plants to establish before you get to eat.

Asparagus, even more than peas, is the vegetable that highlights the value of good miles. Cut a spear in the morning then another in the afternoon and cook them together, and you can tell them apart. Once you've taste your own, it's impossible to make do with overseas, year-round imports. This is real plot-to-plate pleasure, and that late spring/early summer window, when the green spears break the soil, is up there with any in the growers' calendar. I prefer the flavour of the old varieties like 'Connover's Colossal' to most of the newer F1s that are, admittedly, more productive."   -- Mark Diacono, head gardener at River Cottage

Mark, you're making my mouth water and I'm glad I've decided to grow asparagus this year. I love asparagus and don't know why I've put it off so long. Perhaps I perceived it as a difficult crop because it takes a while to get established and requires shrewd harvesting. More importantly, though, it's a fully hardy perennial. What more could my garden ask for?

I've chosen to grow it from seed so the wait will be even longer. (Gah. To think I'd be harvesting this year had I planned this out sooner). I'll be growing:

'Guelph Millennium' (William Dam)
'Jersey Giant' (Restoration Seeds)
'Jersey Supreme' (Restoration Seeds)
'Mary Washington' (Seedville)

To be continued ...

The University of Illinois Extension has some wonderful information on asparagus.

Potager 'Bed-In'

ROSA | Potager Urbain from Samuel Gaudreau on Vimeo.

Like other cases in the news, this couple from Drummondville, Québec, got in trouble with the city for growing vegetables in their front yard. Their clever design is neat and aesthetic. The soil is well contained in raised beds. Really, I fail to see how the city could fault such an impeccable garden.

It was their first year growing vegetables. Their (beautifully captured) 'Bed-In' protest along with heaps of signatures from supporters granted them the right to see the season through and city council now appears open to the concept but has yet to finalize details regarding any new by-laws.

It's time for change, cities. This is a good thing.

Related links:

The couple's site and photos of the garden
Stop the War on Front Yard Vegetable Gardens