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Connecticut Garden Journal: Save some green, grow your own purple and white asparagus

Raw white, purple and green asparagus
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Grow your own asparagus. Select varieties adapted to our region.

We've all seen the high price of veggies in grocery stores. That might make you think twice about purchasing a specialty vegetable like asparagus.

So, why not grow your own and have it every year regardless of inflation and shortages. Select varieties adapted to our region. 'Millenium' is a Canadian variety that features all-male plants, good production and the ability to grow in a wide range of soils. 'Purple Passion' is a fun, purple colored heirloom variety. Purchase crowns locally or through catalogs. Find a full sun location on well-drained soil. Dig a trench 1 foot deep and plant the spider-like crowns 1 foot apart in the trench. Ten crowns is probably plenty for a small family. Backfill with native soil to just cover the top of the crowns. As the ferns grow, continue backfilling until you fill the trench.

For the first two years you'll just be weeding and watering. By year three you can harvest for 4 to 6 weeks, cutting just the spears that are pencil width or larger. After that, the production can go on for years, as long as you add compost and organic fertilizer each spring and keep the bed weeded.

For fun, grow white asparagus. This is a gourmet treat in many restaurants and although it looks like a different variety, it's just blanched asparagus. Cover part of your asparagus bed with black plastic and let the spears grow up into it. The plastic blocks the light and turns the spears white, tender and milder tasting.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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