Asparagus has been cultivated for over 2,000 years as a vegetable and medicinal herb. The first shoots of asparagus in spring are one of the most anticipated events in the vegetable growing calendar! They can be eated raw or cooked, or juiced and are a good source of protein and dietary fibre. The berries are said to be mildly toxic but the seeds can be roasted as a coffee substitute! Both the roots and the shoots can be used medicinally, they have a restorative and cleansing effect on the bowels, kidneys and liver. The shoots can be juiced fresh, and the roots are harvested in late spring, after the shoots have been cut as a food crop, and are dried for later use. The strongly diuretic action of the roots make it useful in the treatment of a variety of urinary problems including cystitis. The roots are said to be able to lower blood pressure, and have also been used in the treatment of cancer.
‘Mary Washington’ is a disease-resistant variety producing thick spears with sweet tips. Prepare beds well – asparagus needs deep, rich well drained soil with added sand or fine stones. Beds will crop for 20 years or more, so it’s worth putting the effort in up front!. Space plants 30cm apart in rows 50cm apart. $7.50 for 9cm pot of one year old certified organic plants (= 2 years to harvest), or for pre-ordered bulk orders of 20 or more plants only – $3 for seedling plants (= 3 years to harvest) in 7cm pot. Please contact us via email to order bulk.
Photos: main photo: pikreo.com, others: commons.wikimedia.org