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Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Shouldn't Be Allowed

...to grow asparagus.  I love asparagus.  I  could eat it at least every other day.  Do you know how much space it would take for us to grow all the asparagus we can eat?  I wouldn't have to mow my yard anymore, that's for sure.
         The fact of the matter is I have absolutely no patience.  I have a lot of major character flaws, primarily impatience.  I can't stand waiting on something to produce, grow or flower.  It produces an anxiety within me unparalleled by most of my other outrageous worries.  Now that I honestly think about it, gardening is about the worst thing for me to do.  Too many variables, too many things I can't control = profound agitation.  But I love it.  As much worry and nail-biting as it causes me, there isn't much greater than walking out your back (or front door...thank you Woody!) and grabbing whatever it is you need to feed your family.

        Anyhow.  Asparagus.  My Memaw had a line of asparagus along her back pasture fence.  I remember them being huge ferns with little red and yellow bulbs, but I never remember eating asparagus there.  And I was there all the time.  I do remember my mom making me eat store-bought canned asparagus, which I absolutely hated because it tasted and smelled just like pond scum.  Flash forward 20 years and I love real asparagus,  not that abomination they put in a tin can and try to sell you. 

        We decided a couple years ago to grow our own, so Woody bought 2 or 3 crowns.  Everything I read says not to cut it the first year and that maximum production can be reached in 8-10 years.  What?!  Are you serious?  So, in my ever-growing futile attempt not to have to buy anything at the store, we planted 9 more crowns this spring.  I read a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about trenches, mulching and blah-blah-blah.  I can tell you this, as complicated as they make it sound, I know my Memaw never did any of that crap to hers.  Because she wouldn't have.  Things in her garden either thrived or died, but she wasn't going to baby them along to feed us.  If something didn't produce, it never got replanted. 

          The thing about the asparagus is that at my house there is an oversight committee that gives me permission to harvest our asparagus.  The hard and fast rules of asparagus agriculture be damned, if I see a spear that looks tasty, I'll cut it down, put it on the grill and directly into my mouth.  But not anymore.  Every time I think I'll harvest a tasty niblet, my husband appears like he just got beamed down from the Starship Enterprise and says something to the effect, "That paper (that came with the asparagus crowns) says you need to be patient the first couple years and not harvest any."  Really?  Because I have a knife and a fork here that dare you to come two foot closer and say that.  Just kidding.  I kid. I'm a kidder.  I would never hurt my husband when I'm hungry, but I'll be the first to admit I get downright irritable.

Yes, I cut this sucker down and had it ate within minutes.
          The same goes with the new apple trees we planted 2 years ago.  In my head, I should be canning quarts and quarts of applesauce, pie apples and cider.  I don't think I even seen a damn blossom this spring.  I planted a grape arbor this year, and I'll be furious next year when I haven't got quart after quart of juice and jelly put up.  It's unreasonable, it's irrational, and yet I continue to fuss and fret and yell at plants.  I'm not a patient farmer.  I see success measured in bumper crops of turnips and radishes that I have to get creative with because I plant hundreds when a small patch will do.  I plant more onions than I have ever seen anyone ever plant because if I have to buy them at the store in February, I feel utterly defeated.  I look at our lawn and reckon that if we tilled most of it up we could plant wheat and enough potatoes so I'd never pay $4.99 for a 5-pound bag again.  Like I said, I border crazy.  Sometimes, even touch a toe down on the other side of crazy. 

         Kind of makes you wonder how they used to feed their families all year-long out of a garden smaller than half of one of ours.  How did any of the asparagus ever survive without a pamphlet giving you permission to harvest?  :)

3 comments:

  1. I know what you mean. I planted my fruit trees this year, as a matter of fact just three months ago and I look at them every day watching for that "First Fruits". I wanted to plant some shade trees but I don't want to do all that work and not get any shade until I am 60. At 60 I will look back and think "Man I should have planted those shade trees when I was 40".

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  2. Oh, boy. Gardening is either going to teach you patience, and its value, or send you over the edge. Perennials require patience; it's not really negotiable. They don't negotiate, regardless of what kind of meltdowns any nearby humans happen to be having. I've found that having many irons in the fire, so to speak, helps enormously when it comes to gardening and dealing with perennials.

    If it's any help, one out of two cherry and pear trees produced one year after we planted them. All grapes, raspberries, and elderberries produced lightly one year after planting. Stay away from blueberries, or schedule several years of distractions, if you have no patience.

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  3. Kate- Ha! Ha! Ha! My memaw told me that years ago. She was dead wrong. I said it was a major character flaw! LOL

    Redneck-I know what ya mean. I wish I'd have had the insight to plant my orchard out here when I was in high school...our old place sat empty for years. What was I thinking? LOL.

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