Monday Recap: Speared, Sowed and Bolted

Every year about April my wife and I begin our annual Asparagus Watch. What we’re watching for are the first signs of the spears shooting up out of the ground. That’s the beginning of asparagus season, and this year it happened on April 7th. I spied the first ones, and ran to the house to share the good news with my wife. I’m not sure what biological clock awakens the asparagus, perhaps a combination of soil warmth and moisture. At any rate, those first spears were followed by more, and in a few days we had our first pound of asparagus.

first asparagus of 2015

first asparagus of 2015

Those first spears wound up in a stir-fry dish. I’m sure later ones will be grilled, roasted, steamed and eaten raw. We generally harvest between 25-30 pounds of it every year during an eight week harvest season. After that we let the ferns grow to replenish the roots for the next year.

asparagus weigh-in

asparagus weigh-in

Even as the asparagus season was starting, some of the spinach began bolting. This year it was the Giant Winter variety that bolted first in both the greenhouse and the cold frame bed, so I pulled the plants to make room for something else. I had some young spinach plants to put in the cold frame beds. The spot in the greenhouse will be occupied by cucumbers when those plants are ready. There’s more spinach still growing, so I blanched and froze the ones I pulled. The bolting plants are on the right of the bed in the below photo.

spinach bed with bolting plants

spinach bed with bolting plants

You can see the flower buds on the spinach in the below photo. For those that don’t grow spinach, the leaves are still edible, but they will start getting bitter and tough as the plants flower. So they wound up in the freezer and we can enjoy them later on.

Giant Winter spinach bolting

Giant Winter spinach bolting

I took advantage of a break in the rain and got some carrot and radish seeds sown. Since carrots generally take one to two weeks to germinate, I covered the seed bed with a doubled over piece of Agribon row cover material after sowing. That will help keep the soil moist, and help keep it from washing away until the seeds germinate. I’ll remove it once I see signs of the seeds coming up. Last year the spring planting came up in nine days, but the speed of germination is very much dependent on soil temperatures, with higher temps making for speedier emergence. The carrots wound up in two different beds this time.

carrot seedbeds covered with row cover material

carrot seedbeds covered with row cover material

In other news, we have been enjoying the spring lettuce. I cut two big heads of Simpson Elite from the greenhouse beds last week. Greens grow lush and tender in there, at least until it warms up and gets too hot.

Simpson Elite lettuce harvest

Simpson Elite lettuce harvest

It was my wife’s turn to cook and she made some wilted lettuce with them. The lettuce gets tossed with a hot vinegar and oil dressing, which wilts it slightly. This was a family favorite at my wife’s house when she was growing up, and now it is a favorite here too! She tops it off with a bit of bacon, which adds a little salty and smoky flavor to the sweet and sour from the dressing.

wilted lettuce salad

wilted lettuce salad

I also cut more salad greens from in and around the greenhouse, including the volunteer Golden Corn Salad that sprouted just outside the greenhouse door. You can see it hanging out with spinach and Winter Density lettuce in the below photo.

salad greens

salad greens

That’s a look at what’s happening here. To see what others are harvesting, sowing and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy acres.

This entry was posted in Gardening and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Monday Recap: Speared, Sowed and Bolted

  1. Daphne says:

    I wish my mache looked so pretty. It got browned over the winter. I keep hoping it will put on new growth so I can eat some.

    I just wish asparagus would grow here. I just keeps dying on me and I’ve tried it in more than one spot in the yard. But I have a few plants left that haven’t died yet. They will never make all that much, but I’d be ecstatic if I ever get any at all.
    Daphne recently posted…Harvest Monday, 13 April 2015My Profile

    • Dave says:

      Some of the mache leaves are a little ragged from getting stepped on, but otherwise it does look good. Too bad about the asparagus. It is such a dependable crop here, and easy to grow other than keeping it weeded. It was tough to get all established here though.

  2. Norma Chang says:

    Planted asparagus years ago, they did not do well. Decided to try again last year hope they made it through the winter, will not get any harvest but hopefully next year.
    Norma Chang recently posted…Harvest Monday, April 13, 2015 – Bumping Up Snap Peas Seedlings + Sweet Potatoes SlipsMy Profile

  3. Jenny says:

    What a lovely selection of greens to harvest and wonderful to have first asparagus! We’re far behind you, and this weekend was first planting of it all. Can’t wait to try our asparagus once it’s awake.
    Jenny recently posted…Finally planting time!My Profile

    • Dave says:

      We never know exactly when our asparagus is going to wake up. It has come up in March before, but early to mid April is usually the norm.

  4. Margaret says:

    Your lettuce looks amazing! I can’t wait to completely bypass that section of the grocery store once I get back to delicious garden fresh lettuce next month.

    And I am so jealous right now…I’ll have to wait a few years for that first asparagus harvest. 25-30 lbs/years sounds fantastic – how many crowns do you have? I’m planting 26, but from what I have read that may be far too few for our needs.
    Margaret recently posted…Seedling Update – Early AprilMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      I think we set out about 65-70 crowns. I don’t know if our patch is up to full production yet either. OSU says each crown will eventually produce 1/2 pound of spears, so we should get more like 35 pounds if that is true. The two of us occasionally give a little away to friends, but mostly we eat it all ourselves. We do freeze a little of it, but I really prefer it fresh.

  5. Michelle says:

    I wish I had room in my garden for asparagus, but I don’t so it’s farmer’s market asparagus for me. The wilted lettuce puts me in mind of grilled lettuce salad. Now that my romaine is producing some nice heads I’ll have to make one – now that will make my Dave happy.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – April 13, 2015My Profile

  6. Mike R says:

    The asparagus I planted last year just sent up shoots a few days ago. I’m still not sure if it’s a good idea to harvest any this year, or not touch them so they can build their energy reserves. I hate to see spinach bolt.
    Mike R recently posted…Monday April 13My Profile

  7. mac says:

    Tried growing asparagus few years back, didn’t do well for me and gave up. You salad looks really yummy.
    mac recently posted…Harvest Monday – April 13, 2015My Profile

  8. DDd says:

    Thanks for your pic of asparagus. I found my first asparagus too. I am a faithful reader ever since found your blog. Asparagus is tricky, and it’s amazing you are so successful.

    • Dave says:

      It took us a couple of years to get the patch fully established, and I had to replace a few bare spots, but now it is doing great!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge