It's All a Matter of Perspective
A friend sent me a picture the other day along with this message, “Looks like dwarf lavender.”
His message was tongue and cheek, of course. This is definitely not dwarf lavender, but is does look a swath of lavender… or maybe a shot of the English countryside carpeted with masses of blooming heathers and heaths. Can you see it? I sure can.
You probably recognize the “flowers” in this shot. They’re in just about every yard right now, spotted throughout our lawns and crowding into our landscape beds. And, no, it’s not lavender or heather or heath.
It’s henbit… with a side of dandelions.
Two of the most common, (and at the same time) most unwanted garden “volunteers.” That’s just a nice way of saying weeds.
Or, are they flowers? I guess that all depends on how you look at it.
There’s a short stretch every spring, when these weeds are producing their first flowers… before the dandelion blooms have turned into fuzzy gray, old-man seed heads and the henbit flowers have faded… when their colorful display really is quite stunning, just like in this picture.
A pleasing mosaic of purples and yellows and greens. Blue skies and sunshine are a nice added touch. These early spring scenes always remind me of a Monet painting.
At least for bit… until those flowers become weeds again!
Spring color comes in many forms, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it… even if it’s just weeds. That’s just part of the beauty of spring.
Now get out there and get at it!
Here are a few more “spring color” shots from my own yard. See… we all have weeds!
It's Time to Eat and Plant Asparagus
One of my favorite vegetable crops is asparagus. I eagerly await their tender shoots every year. And, once production starts, I eat my fill!
For me, asparagus is a lot like tomatoes – meaning store bought is never as good as home-grown. And, growing them at home is easy. Just pick a good spot and get them planted.
Asparagus is a perennial plant. That means you don’t need to replant is each year. Get a patch established and you’ll be harvesting for years.
Pick a spot with good soil and lots of sunshine, and make sure you’re leaving enough room. Asparagus plants can get pretty big, their ferny tops reaching 5 feet in height or more and spreading out 3-5 feet wide! Plan for their size and you’ll be fine. Don’t and you’ll be regretting it.
Asparagus is planted this time of year from freshly harvested crowns, and we have lots of them!
They go in the ground about 6-8” deep, planted about a foot apart. A patch planted this year can be lightly harvested next spring, with a full harvest expected the following season. From then on, every spring will bring an abundant harvest, usually running from mid-April to early June.
We are currently offering four varieties and all make a great choice for our gardens.
- Millennium – This is our new favorite. It is highly productive, and very winter hardy – while being very tolerant to our summer heat. It’s spears stay tight as the temperatures rise providing a long harvest season.
- Jersey Knight – This highly productive introduction has been very popular in recent years. It is an “all-male” introduction from Rutgers University and has proven to be a great choice for our gardens.
- Purple Passion – This one is easily distinguished by its purple color. Spears are large and have a beautiful burgundy color. Their flavor is mild and sweet, with a sugar content 20% higher than green asparagus. Tasty!
- Atlas – Medium to large spears and very productive. Tips hold tight through warmer weather and also very productive.
So, how many do you need to plant?
The general rule of thumb is 5-10 crowns per each family member. You want to make sure you have enough to go around! I like to include multiple varieties in my patch so I have some variety. (Make sure you work in some of the purple ones!)
One last tip.
My favorite way to prepare asparagus is grilled. Just toss freshly harvest spears with olive oil, salt and pepper, then grill. Pull them off when they’re a little charred but not overcooked. (They get soft and mushy if you cook them too long.) It’s quick, it’s easy, and the taste is amazing!
Tree Sale - Save 15%
In honor of Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 29), we are having a Tree Sale! Now through May 1, save 15% on all trees. While supplies last.