You may wonder what asparagus is doing on a site about food storage and inexpensive meals.
We have asparagus to eat because I planted it in our garden.
Asparagus takes 4 years to grow from seed. To harvest faster, you can start with 1 or 2-year-old plants. You can get them at your local nursery, or buy them online for a lot less. I bought a few plants to start, and then ordered more through Burpee. I'm growing Mary Washington asparagus (click on the photo on the right to see the one I have).
You need several plants per person, and they get planted 18 inches apart (by the 4th year, I can see why!) They'll be tiny at first. Give them a good high-nitrogen fertilizer when you plant them. Just let them grow all year into ferns until they turn brown after the first frost. Then, cut them down to ground level.
You'll fertilize them once in early spring before they're up (that's January here in Las Vegas) and 1-2 times more during the growing season. You can harvest for 8-12 weeks in the spring. After that, let any tiny new growth grow into ferns. This will help give the plant strength for next year.
To harvest asparagus, simply snap off the spears at about the length you see them at the grocery store. Longer than that, and they tend to be woody (which means it will be like trying to chew tree branches.)
I've made asparagus several ways, and this way is my favorite. We eat it as a side dish, or, if I only have a few spears, I'll roast them for breakfast and have them on toast with a fried egg, sunny-side up, on top.
Preheat oven to 400º.
In a 9 x 13" pan, or on a baking sheet with sides, pour 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss asparagus in the oil and then spread them out in the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic.
Roast them in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until they are tender.