White asparagus: cultivation and care, beneficial properties
Today, asparagus is in great demand in cooking due to its taste and useful substances that make up its composition. There are 3 main types of asparagus: green, white and purple. The most delicious of them is considered white. Consider why white asparagus is so useful, how to plant and grow it.
The origin and description of the culture
The ancient Egyptians began to use white asparagus for food more than 4 thousand years ago. Now it is very popular in European countries and is considered to be a delicacy. Mostly young shoots up to 15 cm long are used.
White asparagus, or asparagus, refers to perennial dioecious plants that tolerate frosts. Male plants form pollen, female plants form ovaries. The plant blooms in the second year, forms fruits in the form of red balls. Adult plants have a massive rhizome, and each new shoot forms its roots. In one place, asparagus can grow up to 20–25 years.
Properties of White Asparagus
Like any other plant, asparagus has positive and negative properties.
- The positive qualities of asparagus include:
- is a low-calorie product, recommended for those who are on a diet;
- removes excess water from the body;
- contains asparagine, which supports the work of the heart;
- cleanses the intestines;
- enhances male potency;
- promotes the growth of bone and connective tissue, and therefore asparagus is very useful for children;
- normalizes blood cholesterol;
- beneficial effect on the development of the fetus in pregnant women.
- Negative qualities are:
- may cause allergies;
- contraindicated in people with diabetes, urolithiasis, cystitis, rheumatism.
Did you know? In the UK, traditionally, newlyweds are presented with asparagus - a pan for boiling asparagus.
Calorie content and nutritional value of white asparagus
The great value of this food product is its low calorie content, which is only 20 kcal per 100 g of product. The composition of the BJU is as follows:
- proteins - 1.9 g;
- fats - 0.1 g;
- carbohydrates - 3.1 g.
Nutritional value and composition:
- starch - 0.9 g;
- ash - 0.6 g;
- mono- and disaccharides - 2.2 g;
- water - 92.7 g;
- organic acids - 0.1 g;
- dietary fiber - 1.5 g.
Features of growing white asparagus
To grow asparagus in your garden, you need to pay attention to the features that arise in this process. There are two ways to grow: seed and seedlings. More reliable is the second method.
The best time to grow seedlings
Since the seeds germinate for quite some time, seedlings should be grown in early spring - in the second half of March.
Seeds must first be soaked in warm water, adding a growth stimulant (a weak solution of potassium permanganate, Energen, Epin Extra), and soak for 2-3 days in the heat. In this case, water should be changed 2 times a day. After this, the swollen seeds need to be wrapped in a moistened cloth or burlap and kept for another 7 days, regularly wetting them so that the first sprouts 1-3 mm long are hatching.
Selection and preparation of containers
It is necessary to sow the seeds of asparagus in prepared containers: special boxes or individual plastic cups with a volume of 100-200 ml.
Important! The color of asparagus (white, green) does not depend on the variety, but on the method of cultivation. White shoots form underground, and green shoots form on the surface of the soil.
The main requirement for the land in which asparagus seeds will be planted is that it must be light and loose. It can be prepared independently by mixing peat, sand, manure and land from the garden in equal parts.
Sowing white asparagus in a container
Seeds of asparagus are sown to a depth of 2 cm, 1 pc. in each glass, and if in boxes - then at a distance of 5-6 cm from each other. In this case, you will need to maintain the temperature at + 25 ° C, moisten the soil every day and keep the tanks in the open sun. After the seeds germinate, it is necessary to lower the temperature to + 20 ° C and sprinkle them on top of peat. After 14-15 days, the sprouted seedlings should be fertilized. Over the course of a month, the soil is carefully loosened, and cups or boxes with seedlings are regularly turned to the sun for uniform growth.
Video: Sowing asparagus for seedlings
Since asparagus grows in the same place for up to 20 years, the preparation of the beds should be taken very responsibly, given the basic requirements for this, namely:
- for planting seedlings, you need to choose a quiet sunny place isolated from the wind and drafts;
- asparagus does not like stagnation of water, therefore, the occurrence of groundwater should be no less than 1.5 m;
- in the autumn the bed needs to be cleaned of weed grass and dry plants;
- dig deep into 1 bayonet of a shovel;
- fertilize with compost (per 1 m² - 15–20 kg), superphosphate (70 g per 1 m²) and potassium sulfate (40 g per 1 m²);
- in the spring, after the snow melts, the land needs to be harrowed and at the same time add 1 g of 20 g of ammonium nitrate and 60 g of wood ash.
Picking is carried out if the seeds are sown in boxes. When the seedlings grow to a height of 15 cm, it is transplanted into a separate large container, while shortening the root, at a distance of 10 cm from each other.
Rules for planting seedlings in the ground
When planting asparagus seedlings, you need to know how to do this before planting it in open ground:
- Planting in a permanent place begins from the moment when the seedlings sprout to a height of 15 cm.
- The optimal planting period is the beginning of June, so that the weather stabilizes and the earth warms up.
- First you need to harden the seedlings, which is to take the seedlings out into the open air in warm weather, first for 1 hour, with time increasing the time spent on the street to 12 hours.
- To plant seedlings in the ground, you need to make a recess of 30 cm, a width of 40 cm, leave aisles of 50-60 cm.
- Loosen the bottom of the furrow to 15–20 cm.
- Pour a pile of loose soil to the bottom so that it is level with the edge of the hole.
- To raise the seedling, raise its root to 3-4 cm.
- Sprinkle the hole, lightly compact the soil, water it.
- After the water is absorbed, pour dry earth on top.
- To get white asparagus, immediately after planting, you need to form a bed 6–8 cm high, and raise a bed up to 60 cm high next spring.
Proper Care of White Asparagus
Despite the way in which white asparagus is grown, caring for it consists of standard activities.
It is necessary to water asparagus regularly, often in small portions, while you need to ensure that there is no stagnation of water. Over time, the amount of watering can be reduced, but in dry weather you should not allow the soil to dry out, as this worsens the properties of the shoots: they grow hard and bitter in taste.
The quality of the crop is determined by the quality and quantity of fertilizers, therefore it is necessary to feed asparagus throughout the entire period of its life, namely:
- one month after planting, seedlings must be watered with mullein solution (5-6 l of water per 1 kg of mullein);
- when the plants bloom, spray them with the Komandor insecticide (2 ml per 5 l of water);
- after harvesting, at the end of June, fertilize asparagus with superphosphate, potassium salt and urea (30 g of preparation per 1 m²);
- in early July, fertilize with mineral or organic preparations, for example, chicken droppings (1 part of manure to 10 parts of water);
- before the first night frosts, add superphosphate and potassium salt to the ground (30 g each per 1 m²).
Loosening and weeding
One of the important factors in the cultivation of asparagus is regular weeding and loosening of the earth. Since white asparagus loves light soil, it is necessary to loosen the earth quite often, after each watering or rain, at least 8 times per season. Aisles must be cleaned of weeds, which will prevent the appearance of pests and diseases.
Pest and Disease Control
The main diseases and pests of asparagus include:
- Root rot is a disease that affects the root system of asparagus, which leads to the death of the entire plant. In case of minor infection, it is necessary to treat the affected areas with Fundazolum (10 g per 10 l of water) and cover it with a plastic wrap. In case of severe infection, the plants will have to be destroyed.
- Rust is the most harmful disease, which is manifested by the appearance of yellow spots on young shoots with black dots in the center. Over time, the spots darken, grow and infect healthy asparagus leaves with their spores. The disease develops due to stagnation of water in the soil. You can deal with this by conducting preventive measures: remove the affected plants from the beds, thoroughly clean the site of weeds, plant strong and healthy seedlings, and also spray with special compounds: “Topaz” (1 ampoule per 10 liters of water), “Fitosporin-M” (200 g per 500 ml of water).
- Phomosis is a fungal disease characterized by the formation of brown spots with a red border on the stems. It develops as a result of high humidity. It is eliminated with the help of such drugs as Fitosporin-M and Fundazol.
- Cercosporosis - forms gray spots on asparagus leaves, densely covered with dirty coating. Observed on affected areas of plants and on fallen asparagus residues. It is very important to destroy infected plants in a timely manner and treat them with chemical preparations at the first manifestations of this disease: Fundazole, Tsineb.
- Asparagus flies - insects of brown color, 7 mm long, destroy young shoots, laying eggs inside them. In case of a lesion, it is necessary to cut off the diseased shoots and burn them, annually in the autumn to deeply loosen the soil to kill the larvae of flies.
- Asparagus leaf beetle - a beetle up to 5.5 mm in size, which eats leaves and shoots of asparagus. Its dark gray larvae pupate nearby. Protection methods consist of collecting beetles in the morning in a special bucket filled with water with kerosene, and after harvesting the shoots are treated with “Karbofos”.
- The scutellum is the larva of the caterpillar, which affects the back side of the asparagus leaves, after which they dry and fall off. For its extermination, it is necessary to spray the plant with a solution of laundry soap and salt, with a large lesion - "Karbofos" (1 ampoule per 10 liters of water).
- Asparagus rattles - beetles up to 5 cm in size, which eat young shoots at the initial stage of their development, lay eggs in the ground. They can be destroyed by loosening the soil, manually collecting beetles or spraying the plants with special preparations: Actellik (20 g per 10 l of water), Aktara (1 sachet per 3 l of water), Karate (1 g per 10 l water).
Harvesting and storage methods
Harvest of white asparagus is harvested in the third year after planting it in open ground. The process itself is as follows:
- shoots are collected from April to June;
- when the crust of the earth rises and crackes, they gently scoop up the earth, feel for the shoot and cut it off, leaving 2 cm at the base;
- the formed holes are covered with earth;
- shoots are cut off as they form within a month every 2-3 days;
- in the third year of life from one plant you can collect 4-5 shoots, in the following years - up to 15 pieces;
- to harvest early in the morning or in the evening, because under the influence of the sun the shoots quickly darken;
- store asparagus in a cool dark place with a temperature not exceeding + 3 ° C in special baskets covered with a moist burlap;
- since white asparagus withers very quickly, it is best to sell it on the very day the harvest was about to take place.
Cooking Methods for White Asparagus
Asparagus can be eaten both raw and stewed, boiled, baked, fried, steamed and grilled, canned, pickled. Boiled asparagus is served as a main dish, as a side dish or as one of the ingredients of such dishes as soups, risotto, pizza, spaghetti, sauces, etc.
If you make a little effort and grow white asparagus in your garden, it will turn out to be an indispensable source of vitamins and nutrients during the spring vitamin deficiency, and also, thanks to its refined taste, diversify the daily diet of lovers of tasty and wholesome food.