Asparagus can be traced back as far as 200 B.C. Roman emperors would keep a special fleet just to fetch asparagus. Julius Cesar to Augustus prized asparagus. Asparagus can not be tracked back to any specific region but it was known to be native to the Mediterranean area and Asia Minor. It first appears in English print around 1000 A.D.
Asparagus is a hardy perennial and is the only vegetable that grows wild along roadsides and railroad tracks in many parts of the country. It is difficult work to establish an Asparagus bed but the results will be worth it. It is one of the first vegetables to be ready in the spring.
Asparagus are either male or female. The female producing seeds and males producing a larger thicker spear and have less of a weeding problem. New all male hybrid varieties are now available and are becoming very popular. Chose your varieties carefully because they may last 30 years.
You can start planting whenever you can work the soil. Asparagus should be planted about 9-12 inches apart. The root will grow out horizontally instead of vertically and as the plant gets older the stems will become thicker. They should be fertilized as you would the rest of you garden.
You are going to have to wait 3 years before you can harvest asparagus and only for one month that year, normally in June. After the fourth year you can harvest as you wish. As asparagus grows the biggest problem will be weed control. Weeds will prevent the new asparagus sprouts from maturing.
Asparagus is low in calories and has an abundant amount of vitamins A and C. it is also a great source of folate and has a good amount of fiber. The top one inch of the stem end will need to be removed before it can be eaten. Asparagus can be eaten raw, steamed, grilled (my favorite), roasted or added to salads and casseroles.