Who would have thought that a simple blog post on asparagus would generate such a response? First, the emails came pouring in. Several readers wrote that the ‘golden’ color so praised in the article I read was actually a sickly broom straw yellow; don’t get your hopes up, they wrote, since your asparagus bed will actually look like old dead grass and not amber waves of grain waving like golden tendrils in the breezes. (Well, I just wrote that, but you get the drift.) Next, several readers commented or emailed to advise that even if the gardening catalogs promise a harvest of asparagus the first year, at most you will get a few tender shoots, but not much. I heard from two readers with similar stories of waiting two years for their asparagus beds to take off, and then they had so many asparagus shoots they were giving them away to the neighbors because they couldn’t eat them fast enough! I can only hope that my asparagus grows as well.
I haven’t decided on the variety yet, but it’s not because I am still carefully weighing the pros and cons of Jersey Knight against Jersey Giant. We took two weekends to deep clean areas of the house that were like bottomless pits. I don’t know how people move around from house to house all the time. I moved only twice in my lifetime and twice was more than enough. When we moved into the house here at Seven Oaks just over four years ago, we left a few boxes of miscellaneous books, papers and household items in the basement, intending to sort them out and put them away as soon as we had major areas of the house organized like the kitchens and bedrooms. No such luck. That stack of boxes haunted a corner of the basement, nagging me every time I went downstairs to work out on the treadmill. My husband also wanted to finish the custom closet system he had designed and built. When we moved in, we had temporary shelves installed in the walk in closet, intending them to be -ahem- temporary. But of course temporary turned into four years until they began falling down. We didn’t like anything we found in stores, so he designed and crafted a solid wood system that we finished installing this weekend. It’s gorgeous, but it also necessitated more organizing, cleaning out and overall straightening up that precluded my perusal of gardening catalogs and books.
I must say, however, that hauling another car full of items to throw out and packing another box to give away to Good Will felt – well, good. I even went through the linen closet and the bathroom cabinets, cleaning and decluttering things, throwing away things like 10 year old sunblock (which probably won’t do anything to protect my skin from the sun anyway) and broken barettes.
Now that the house feels clean and organized, I’m ready to organize my garden. One good thing about declutteirng the basement was that I now have an entire box of half open, half full, hand collected and otherwise gift of seeds to go through before I place my order. And it’s a good thing, too. I found Romaine lettuce seeds which I didn’t know I have, and kale too. I will conduct a viability test to see if they are still useful and to see if I can save money and use what I have rather than spending more on new seeds.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.