ASPARAGUS

ASPARAGUS

Coming from the Asiatic coast of Europe, where there exist a number of spontaneous species, the asparagus or asparagus officinalis has been cultivated since the days of the ancient Egyptians and was highly prized in Imperial Rome. The name comes from the Greek term, aspharagos, or the Persian, asparag, meaning bud. In effect, what is eaten are the early buds of the spring tillers that shoot out from the subterranean trunk. It is a perennial species whose roots and trunk develop underground, while the branches and the leaves emerge and give origin to vegetation that can reach over a meter and a half in height. The asparagus belongs to the Liliaceae family like garlic and the onion. This species includes masculine and feminine plants that produce turions. From an energetic point of view, the caloric value of the asparagus is only 20 Kcal/100 grams of fresh product but it has interesting healthy properties. It is a diuretic and a coadjutant against gout, kidney stones, rheumatism, and dropsy and it seems to have an active role in reducing eczema. Its use favors the production of numerous protein substances since it is rich in the amino acid asparagine. In addition, it contains rutin which helps reinforce capillary walls.

CULTIVATION

Cultivation takes a few years so it is important to prepare the ground well and add plenty of organic matter as well as phosphatic and potassic fertilizers. For proper fertilization, it would be sufficient to make about 8 kg / sqm of organic compost, accompanied by 100g/sqm potassium sulphate and 100g / sqm of superphosphate. With regard to planting, small depressions should be made on the bottom of which must be planted seedlings. After the development of plants in summer, you can fill the rows with ground situated between the rows the following winter. In this way, year after year, one can always add a little bit of soil on the rows, creating a mound that goes to make up for the trunk's rise. One can plant this vegetable using already-vegetated parts of the asparagus bed or by using plants derived from hybrid seeds. These should be planted in the spring to begin harvesting the following year and go into full production in the second or third year. Every spring, after the harvest of the first turions, one lets the successive branches grow regularly to allow the plant to store nutrients capable of resprouting the following year. To reinvigorate the underground part, it is important to irrigate and fertilize the asparagus bed even during the summer.

ADVERSITIES

Among the fungal parasites that can affect the external part of the plant during the summer, there are rust (Puccinia asparagus) and stemphiliosis (Stemphylium vesicarium), both easily controllable with preventive interventions of copper-based products. In cases of emergencies dealing with the seedcorn maggot (Delia platura), which can attack the turions, one can take preventive measures by removing the soil before the emergence of the asparagus or by distributing natural pyrethroids on the ground.