Every year about April my wife and I begin our annual Asparagus Watch. What we’re watching for are the first signs of the spears shooting up out of the ground. That’s the beginning of asparagus season, and this year it happened on April 7th. I spied the first ones, and ran to the house to share the good news with my wife. I’m not sure what biological clock awakens the asparagus, perhaps a combination of soil warmth and moisture. At any rate, those first spears were followed by more, and in a few days we had our first pound of asparagus.
Those first spears wound up in a stir-fry dish. I’m sure later ones will be grilled, roasted, steamed and eaten raw. We generally harvest between 25-30 pounds of it every year during an eight week harvest season. After that we let the ferns grow to replenish the roots for the next year.
Even as the asparagus season was starting, some of the spinach began bolting. This year it was the Giant Winter variety that bolted first in both the greenhouse and the cold frame bed, so I pulled the plants to make room for something else. I had some young spinach plants to put in the cold frame beds. The spot in the greenhouse will be occupied by cucumbers when those plants are ready. There’s more spinach still growing, so I blanched and froze the ones I pulled. The bolting plants are on the right of the bed in the below photo.
You can see the flower buds on the spinach in the below photo. For those that don’t grow spinach, the leaves are still edible, but they will start getting bitter and tough as the plants flower. So they wound up in the freezer and we can enjoy them later on.
I took advantage of a break in the rain and got some carrot and radish seeds sown. Since carrots generally take one to two weeks to germinate, I covered the seed bed with a doubled over piece of Agribon row cover material after sowing. That will help keep the soil moist, and help keep it from washing away until the seeds germinate. I’ll remove it once I see signs of the seeds coming up. Last year the spring planting came up in nine days, but the speed of germination is very much dependent on soil temperatures, with higher temps making for speedier emergence. The carrots wound up in two different beds this time.
In other news, we have been enjoying the spring lettuce. I cut two big heads of Simpson Elite from the greenhouse beds last week. Greens grow lush and tender in there, at least until it warms up and gets too hot.
It was my wife’s turn to cook and she made some wilted lettuce with them. The lettuce gets tossed with a hot vinegar and oil dressing, which wilts it slightly. This was a family favorite at my wife’s house when she was growing up, and now it is a favorite here too! She tops it off with a bit of bacon, which adds a little salty and smoky flavor to the sweet and sour from the dressing.
I also cut more salad greens from in and around the greenhouse, including the volunteer Golden Corn Salad that sprouted just outside the greenhouse door. You can see it hanging out with spinach and Winter Density lettuce in the below photo.
That’s a look at what’s happening here. To see what others are harvesting, sowing and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy acres.