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.
Purple asparagus was originally developed in Italy by farmers in the Albenga region. The colour comes from the high levels of anthocyanins in the spears. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidant flavonoids that have protective and preventative health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Purple asparagus is a bit nuttier and sweeter than green asparagus because it has about 20 percent more sugar in its stalks. ‘Sweet Purple’ is a disease-resistant productive variety producing thick sweet spears which are lower in fibre than some other varieties. Treat purple asparagus the same as green for preparation and cooking purposes, but note that the colour does fade slightly with cooking.
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 in a sunny spot. $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 seedling plants (= 3 years to harvest) in 7cm pot – $3 each. Please contact us via email to order bulk.