Thursday, January 31, 2013

Of Asparagus and Artichokes

It's snowing, but I am here with a cup of tea and a pile of gardening catalogs and websites dreaming of spring.  I have placed my seed orders, and received about half of them.   (Territorial Seed Company is quick to deliver).  Now I must set about determining where they all will go... YES, I KNOW that was a backwards way of doing it.  All I can say is that I know what I want to harvest this year, so I ordered it.   Also, if I order it, then I MUST make room for it, because I certainly can't let it go to waste.  That's motivation, I hope.

I will start the asparagus seeds as soon as they arrive.  I figure since we planted crowns last year, and then discovered a dozen asparagus plants in the old garden, we will be eating those this year.  There is still space for 12 more plants in the new bed (old water trough) where I put crowns last year.  One cannot have too much asparagus.  I might put some in the hoop house, too, just to see if they come up any earlier than those outside, thus extending my harvest time at the front end.  The seeds are for Purple Passion.  All my other 'sparagus is green, and I'm nothing if not a diehard fan of green&purple together.  Just look at the quilts I've made...

I'm also going to try growing artichokes.  Starting now in the living room.  Yes, I know that doesn't thrill El Jefe.   Yes, I know I am in Zone 5.  But that is what the hoop house is for.  I have this fabulous recipe that calls for snap peas, leeks, and canned chokes that EVERYONE in the family loves, especially El Jefe...  anyway, the chokes are Imperial Star, which are supposed to produce well as annuals up to Zone 5, and perennialize in Zone 7 - supposedly the hoop house gives me two extra zones, which would be zone 7, and even if it doesn't, I should still get chokes this year.  I have leeks overwintering (by accident, I admit, but still, there they are!), and we got more snap peas than we could eat last year,  so I will experiment planting them both in other locations this year, because having trellises in the hoop house was rather a pain, and if the leeks don't do well from seed (last year I had slips) I can replace them in the recipe with the wild bunching onions that grow all around the trough where the asparagus are.  (I did it once last year and no one noticed).  Please don't tell.

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