A couple of years ago, I decided to plant out a small patch of asparagus in my garden. At the time, it seemed a bit potty: after all, asparagus is a crop that you have to wait three whole years to enjoy, and my garden is not big. So ever since, I’ve glowered a little at the space that the crowns take up and steal from other annual vegetables.
Until this year, when I ate my first home grown spears. And then I wished I’d filled my whole vegetable patch with the stuff.
As soon as the spears, some fat, some thin, had reached six inches, then I cut them with a sharp knife. I’ll keep cutting them until early June, when it’s time to give the plant a rest and let the rest of the spears develop into full-blown, gorgeous, ferny foliage.
With every crop that I harvest, I run indoors as fast as my legs will carry me, and steam the spears. This is when I realise that the king of vegetables is only a pauper if you buy it from the shops, and an emperor if you eat it fresh from your own garden. The taste is incomparable.
So even though it has taken three years to much my way through the most delectable harvest ever, I’m planning ahead. Herbaceous flowers that I never really loved that much are coming out of the borders to make way for more asparagus. After all, it looks as good as it tastes, so why not?