Andy rototilled using the tractor to get the manure and ashes incorporated deep into the soil. Then he used the push rototiller fitted with a furrow attachment to make the rows for the crowns. We made 4 rows; 2 rows 2 ft. apart, then a 5 ft space, then 2 rows 2 ft. apart.
At a spacing of 1 ft. apart, we spread each plants roots out in the soil, then covered them up so that the crown was just below the surface of the soil.
Once the asparagus has emerged, we will start mulching with whatever we can find to keep the grass out of the bed. The asparagus will not be ready to fully harvest until the spring of 2012. Andy pointed out that we will be 30 when we are able to fully enjoy the benefits of this planting! Even still, the asparagus ferns are so beautiful at the end of the summer with their bright red berries that hang off of the branches like Christmas bells. Hopefully next year we will have a small harvest of healthy, delicious asparagus!
If you are lucky enough to find some fresh asparagus at your local farmers market this spring, here is a recipe that looks absolutely divine! I found it in the new issue of Cooking Light Magazine. It suggests grilling the pizza, however I am sure you could put it in the oven just the same. It seems like a pizza peel would come in very handy if you do decide to use the grill. Have fun!!
Grilled Pizza with Asparagus and Caramelized Onion
Cooking Light Magazine
1 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 C thinly vertically sliced onion
2 C (2-inch) slices asparagus (about ½ lb.)
1 Tbl. thinly sliced ready to use sun-dried tomatoes
⅛ tsp. salt
1 (8-oz.) portion fresh whole wheat pizza dough.
¾ C (3 oz.) shredded fontina cheese
1½ tsp. fresh oregano leaves
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
2. Heat 2 tsp. of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Add asparagus to pan; cook 5 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes and salt.
3. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface; brush each side of dough with ½ tsp. remaining oil.
4. Place dough on a grill rack; grill 1½ minutes or until crust bubbles and is well marked. Reduce grill to low; turn dough over. Arrange onion mixture over crust; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Cover and grill over low heat 3½ minutes or until cheese melts; remove pizza from grill. Sprinkle with oregano and black pepper.