Mentoring Asparagus

Last spring my husband announced that he had bought a box of asparagus to plant in my mini raised herb/tomato bed in our backyard. Sounded like a good idea to me, since we both love asparagus and it is rather pricey in the grocery store.

He read the instructions on the box and went out to plant them. We were excited to see slender shoots of asparagus appear. They were thinner than yarn string. They were not to be harvested. We knew there was a growing period where we would not get any spears to eat. The one thing I did know about growing asparagus was you have to let the spears turn into ferns. Beyond that we are totally clueless on the care and feeding of asparagus.

Yes, I know I can google asparagus and have a mountain of information at my fingertips. I tried that route, but then became overwhelmed with terms and conflicting information. I clicked away from that option, but I had noticed a garden full of asparagus on my biking route. My plan is to watch that garden closely. Each day I ride by I am looking carefully to see if there are any changes with their asparagus ferns.

All summer they continue to grow. My mentor garden is lovely to look at, soft green fronds hang together to make a wall of ferns. My few plants fall over one another, as if they are pushy teenagers trying to get to the front of a line. I don’t know when, let alone if I will ever see enough asparagus to make a meal, but it’s fun trying.

There are two walls of ferns in this garden.

There are two walls of ferns in this garden.

My poor asparagus ferns who must fight for their position with tomato and basil plants.

My poor asparagus ferns who must fight for their position with tomato and basil plants.


19 thoughts on “Mentoring Asparagus

  1. Gardening reminds me of golf. It takes so much work to get it right. Truly right. (I had to rip my dill plant out of my herb garden mid-summer since it turned into a disaster when I was away in NYC for a week.)

    Loved the description in your piece, Elsie. While the pictures were great, I felt as though I were there just from your words.

  2. I love this very unique “mentor garden/text!” And what a great metaphor, of the asparagus as pushy teenagers. You made me laugh out loud! Hope one day you actually get some you can eat!

  3. I thought you were somehow going to use the directions as a mentor text for writing some kind of directions… haha! šŸ™‚ A fun surprise to discover another kind of mentor though! šŸ™‚

  4. I know I have said this before but….I want to be just like you when I grow up. I only know you from your writing, but I can imagine what you must be like in person. I guess that is called voice isn’t it? Your writing just makes me smile. I love to come to your blog. Thank you for making me smile today. I needed it!

  5. Jaana says:

    Just learned new vocabulary: mentor garden! You can’t take a teacher away from the gardener! Elsie, you are gifted in making these special connections!

  6. I always look forward to learning something new from you Elsie! As usually, your pictures are beautiful! Isn’t it amazing the things that inspire writing?

  7. Phillip says:

    If you ask me, I think your ‘mentor’ is a bit of an over-achiever! And we all know show offs need to be either taken down a notch, or taken advantage of. Next spring monitor this patch and the comings and goings of the gardener. You will be surprised how much easier it is to harvest from a well established asparagus bed such as this and how quickly the plants recover from a careful, strategic trimming around the edges!

  8. Love the title, and this: “My few plants fall over one another, as if they are pushy teenagers trying to get to the front of a line.” Now, I’m interested. I know asparagus returns year after year because my mother-in-law had hers off in a garden corner, but after that, you’ve shown me more. They certainly look beautiful!

  9. Judy C. says:

    Elsie, you have once again written a delightful slice – I like your phrase about the pushy teenagers. I remember my Mom & Dad had asparagus in their garden and it was delicious. Dad also harvested asparagus that he found growing along the railroad tracks. Be patient – it may be several years before you actually can harvest it, but the ferns add a lot of color to your garden.

  10. I was immediately drawn to your title. We started a few asparagus plants 3 years ago. The plants have increased and we had more asparagus this year–just enough for me to eat straight from the plant–love it any way I can get it. This year, I noticed all the green fronds. I was thinking, more asparagus next year if I let them grow. I like your phrase of “teenagers trying to get in the front line.” You did more research than I did. They are next to some dill I planted this year. Together, they are quite a pretty sight. Here’s to your asparagus, Elsie!!!

  11. I’ll be waiting to hear if you’re ever brave enough to knock on the door and ask questions of the owners of your mentor ferns (which reminds me of my own knocking on the door story for a future slice). Love your descriptive phrases – soft green fronds and pushy teenagers!

  12. I feel the same way about google sometimes… Wouldn’t it be great if we had mentor asparagus for more of our queries? Might not be as fast, but oh, it’d be so much more interesting…

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