Sunday, April 20, 2008

First Spring Veggies

In past years, I don't recall the asparagus popping up quite as early as it has this year. Maybe I never really took note of when the asparagus peeked out of the earth simply because I've never had a decent crop of asparagus in the approximately 8 years since I planted those little octopus crowns. This is the first year that I haven't seen asparagus beetles snacking on, crawling on, and using the asparagus as an egg incubator.

Perhaps the asparagus truly is early, or the beetles are late. At any rate, I had a beautiful bunch of asparagus to accompany our Sunday dinner of steak on the grill, mashed potatoes, fried yellow squash, Indian puppodums, and a yummy dessert of whole wheat berries cooked in milk and honey with golden raisins and seasoned with cinnamon. The dessert was like rice pudding, but wheat berries were used instead of rice.

I must tell you here, that in the past I tried all sorts of things to eradicate the asparagus beetles. I tried planting petunias between the asparagus plants (I'd read somewhere that petunias repel the beetles). That seemed to help initially, but eventually the beetles came. I tried spraying insecticidal soaps, I tried hand-picking the beetles and crushing their eggs. As soon as the spears would poke up from the ground, the beetles would be on them, devouring them and laying their eggs on them. The spears, in addition to being eaten by the beetles, would also be grossly misshappen. I'm not sure if that was due to the beetles snacking on the spears, of if there was a deficiency of some sort in the soil. The poor little spears would just...shrivel.

Today's asparagus feast was simply "brilliant". Since I'm the only one in my family that even likes asparagus, I had it all to myself. Nothing fancy today, just butter and a hint of salt tossed on and it was pure bliss.

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