It’s hard to believe it is already March, and time for many folks in the U.S. to catch the annual basketball fever called March Madness. I’m not much into b-ball, but I am knee deep in my own brand of gardening madness this time of year, starting seeds and planting things. And right now I have some exciting garden news to share: we have ASPARAGUS! Sorry for shouting, but I am excited. The first spear of 2012 was harvested on 3/16, and it didn’t even make it into the house. My wife and I consumed it on the spot, while standing out in the asparagus patch.
The warm weather has made it shoot up about 2-3 weeks earlier than usual. Typically our asparagus season runs from early April until the last of May. I generally harvest mature plantings like ours for about 8-9 weeks, then let the rest of the spears grow into the ferny foliage that will replenish the roots for next years harvest. At this rate, we will need to stop harvesting by mid-May. We will no doubt just have to play it by ear this year and see how things develop.
The first spears wound up getting grilled, and served up as a side dish for a frittata we had for dinner last night. I can see some more asparagus appearing soon on a pizza or in a stir fry.
This week I also harvested some mature heads of Simpson Elite lettuce from the greenhouse. This is my favorite lettuce for wilting, and that was exactly what we did with it. My wife makes a great dressing using white wine vinegar, sugar, and a tiny bit of bacon grease. We had the wilted lettuce for several meals, served with hamburgers one time and bbq chicken the next. And yes, that is bacon on top of the salad in the below photo!
Something new from the garden was this Purple Rapa Pop Mix. It’s a Frank Morton creation from Wild Garden Seeds, resulting from “crossing purple mustards, wong bok and Red turnip.” It survived the non-winter of 2011-2012 outside, unprotected. Early on it had a lovely purple color that faded when the weather warmed up and the plants got bigger.
I harvested whole plants with a knife, leaving the growing point intact to see if they will resprout. It has a mild flavor, much like a pak choi, and I stir fried it ever so briefly. The leaves can also be eaten raw. I’ll be growing this one again.
The overwintered spinach keeps on producing for us. I expect the plants in the greenhouse to start bolting any day now. The ones in the cold frame might last a bit longer. Normally I do a spring planting of spinach, but not this year. We have so many overwintered greens that I decided we had enough to eat without more spinach. We’re still enjoying what we have though.
I also harvested more lettuce for salads, plus some mache. We had a bit of chicken left over from the bbq, and combined that and some feta cheese with the greens for a Greek style salad for lunch yesterday.
I’ve got the Mache growing in a window box container. I sowed the seed rather thickly, and never got around to thinning it. I expect it will be bolting soon too, but the mild tasting and tender leaves will be nice while they last.
That’s what we have been harvesting here this March. To see more gardeners harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions – host of Harvest Monday’s.
Your frittata is making me sooooo hungry.
Gorgeous harvest. I am so tempted to put my seedlings into the garden and direct sow some seeds after all the grounds are all nice and warm, but I must remind myself it is still mid March.
I’m making myself wait, Norma. The thermometer may say ‘summer’, but the calendar still says March!
Everything looks amazing! Yum.
Congratulations on the first harvest of asparagus for the year – yum! Your lettuces are all looking really good too. Interesting cross bred green variety. I wonder if we will be seeing that more in the seed catalogs in the future?
Frank Morton seems to specialize in creating and ‘improving’ open pollinated varieties.
Congrats on the asparagus (I’d be yelling, too)!!! Since we’re not sure how much longer we’ll own this house (really, anywhere from another4 years to…well, hopefully not forever), we’ve been hesitant to put in asparagus. Do you know if we could grow it in a container (a big container)?
Beautiful greens you have, too! Such abundant harvests 🙂
Beautiful harvest. The lettuce you grow puts my itty bitties to shame. LOL.
Awesome on the asparagus! We have not even planted our bed yet…haven’t even decided where we want it. But our rhubarb is coming up along with about everything else! Plum trees are in full bloom as well. 🙂
Great harvest Dave, we are still a solid month away from harvest that size so I’m a little jealous! I to am up to my elbows in garden work right now. Lots of seedlings to start and it time to get the peas and some potatoes in!!
Your greens look wonderful! and cudo’s on crunching asparagus right on the spot! i always do that with the first one too 🙂
Nice harvest and delicious frittata, congrats on your first asparagus. Some critters has been eating my asparagus spears as soon as they pop up from the ground, wonder I’ll get to harvest anything this year >”<
Great looking harvests; I can’t wait for Asparagus myself. I might get a few bites from some older plants scattered about, but it will be one or two years before the Purple Passion that I planted in Jan is ready.
I will be planting a lot more Asparagus this year too. Lve the mache, I can always tell from the difference in flavor and texture that’s what I have in my mouth when I’m eating my mixed salads.
I would be dancing for joy if I harvested asparagus spears! This is because I just planted asparagus yesterday.. guess I have a while to wait. Yours looks delicious! I also like all the different lettuce varieties you have.. enjoy the March madness!
I’m currently exploring different lettuce varieties and haven’t tried mache yat – I think it will have to be my next planting.
Wow! I’m so envious! Your garden is producing beautifully! I started my Happy Yummy pepper seeds. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!
When you said you had your asparagus already, I had to run out and see if mine were coming up. Three plants have sent up spears. This is their second year and the spears are fairly small, so I’m not harvesting them. I do have three females marked to remove and replace (all male my ass). I had to order more anyway since a few died so I might as well replace the females. I’ll probably harvest their spears until the new plants arrive.
Beautiful harvest! 🙂