No bed like a well-maintained asparagus bed
by Ted Meseyton
April is the time of year I’m scratching around the soil to see what’s popping up. Daffodils are already bursting into bloom and I’ve seeded three short rows of radishes during the right time of the moon in a sunny sheltered micro climate spot.
I was listening to Chris the Accordion Guy sing his song titled: ‘Missing Out.’ Although the lyrics don’t mention asparagus, I‘d suggest that gardeners without a bed of asparagus plants are missing out.
A well maintained asparagus bed can produce for 20 years or more and grows to its own tune. On a hot day spears can increase in length by up to six inches. It’s as though you can actually watch asparagus spurting growth one day to the next.
You have two options with asparagus -- buy rooted plants at the garden centre or start your own from seed. In the latter instance, it’ll take up to three years to realize a decent harvest.
A variety that caught my eye is Guelph Millennium developed by Professor Dave Wolyn and his research team at University of Guelph’s plant agriculture department.
Guelph Millennium was named seed of the year in 2005 in recognition for sustained high yields and quality. It now comprises more than three quarters of the Ontario asparagus market. Better yet, this cool tolerant asparagus has become popular among producers as far away as B.C. and the UK; having also gained popularity for additional traits. While sandy and light soil is ideal for most asparagus, Guelph Millennium has performed well in heavier land, including virgin soils. This has allowed producers to expand into areas that previously were not ideal for growing asparagus.
Seeds for Guelph Millennium asparagus can be purchased from W.H. Perrin, Laval, Que., www.whperron.com or phone 1-800-723-9071 and also from West Coast Seeds, Delta, B.C., www.westcoastseeds.com or phone 1-888-804-8820.
Check local seed displays for other asparagus seed varieties such as Jersey Giant, Purple Passion, Sweet Purple, Martha Washington and Voltaire White.
Why does pee smell downright strange after eating asparagus?
Believe it or not, according to studies some of us are actually spared from the not-so-pleasant scent coming from urine after eating asparagus. A sulphurous compound called methyl mercaptan is contained within the fibres and juices of asparagus. This harmless but pungent-smelling gas has been described as having similarity to rotting cabbages, rotten eggs, smelly socks or decaying onions and garlic.
When the digestive system breaks down asparagus, by-products are released that cause the characteristic, not entirely pleasant odour. No wonder rotten eggs are used in an anti-deer repellent formula that is sprayed onto tree limbs and branches, along fence posts and outskirts of gardens to discourage wild animal intrusions.
Earth Day: this Saturday, April 22-17
The annual event is observed worldwide in 193 countries globally to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Here are a few facts.
Earth Day is the largest celebrated secular holiday in the world.
● The first proclamation of Earth Day was made in 1970.
● One activity for Earth Day is the annual ringing of the Peace Bell at the United Nations (UN). The Peace Bell was given to the UN by Japan and is made from coins donated by Japanese school children to promote peace on the planet.
● The first international conference on the environment was held in Sweden in 1972 and was sponsored by the United Nations.
Things to do on Earth Day
There are numerous projects and activities that Portagers and Canadians everywhere can participate in to create and celebrate Earth Day. It’s important to always keep in mind that Earth Day is an ‘everyday’ year-round commitment. It will take endless activities to make a significant difference on environmental issues. As an individual or family unit, decide which green activities to undertake. Here are a few spring/summer suggestions.
● Clean up a section of roadside, park or both sides of a walking path
● Plant trees, shrubs, flowers and grow your own veggies
● Make bird houses, setup bird baths and change water daily
● Commit to save rain water and cover the barrel top
● Acquire a recycling attitude
● Maintain a butterfly mud puddle
● Make your own compost pile
● Avoid use of harsh products
(gardener’s hat symbol)
This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from the City of Portage la Prairie: Great and Growing – Good Things Happening.© Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on, pass it on. ’Twas not given for you alone, pass it on, pass it on. Let it travel down the years, pass it on, pass it on, then wipe away another’s tears, pass it on, pass it on.