Growing Asparagus: Osage County Spring is in Full Swing

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In spite of my somewhat over-zealous&nbsp;<a href=”http://www.grit.com/tools/dr-roto-hog-tiller-get-your-garden-going.aspx”>tilling exercise</a>&nbsp;from a couple of weeks ago, thankfully I avoided wiping out my asparagus patch. I got to day dreaming a bit and forgot about the growing asparagus patch a couple of times and just tilled right on top of it — oops. Luckily the growing asparagus crowns were smarter than I am and hadn&rsquo;t sent the first probing spears close enough to the surface for me to grind into oblivion. I love growing asparagus. I enjoy the way it stakes a wild claim along the fencerows and I love that it performs year after year in my garden. I especially dig that asparagus is the first meaty vegetable crop of spring.</p>
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<p>I planted this asparagus patch three years ago. Finally, in 2010, the spears are fat, luscious and hopefully plentiful &ndash; thanks to all that chicken manure and compost that got worked into the soil last fall and over the winter. My mouth is watering as I write this because for a few fleeting weeks, beginning this week, my Partner in Culinary Crime and I will be able to grill, saut&eacute;, steam and smother with melted real cheese (not that processed kind that was the subject of a food show last week) the freshest asparagus we can ever get. I know I will also eat a few of those spears straight from the garden, with no more prep than a quick brushing to get the big pieces of debris off.</p>
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<p>In a perfect world, you might want to have fresh asparagus from the garden all year long. Not me. I prefer the seasonality of the spears &ndash; I know that spring is well along when I can break the first bunch, soak it with olive oil and wrap the works in a foil envelope to set on the charcoal grill right next to that lovely grassfed lamb loin. Some folks don&rsquo;t like lamb because it is &ldquo;too&rdquo; flavorful. Some folks don&rsquo;t like asparagus because it makes their urine smell &ldquo;funny.&rdquo; &nbsp;I enjoy it all and all of it helps me realize that there are seasons and that those seasons shape my life.</p>
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<a href=”http://www.grit.com/biographies/oscar-h-will” target=_self>Hank Will</a>
<em> raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper’s Farmer magazines. Connect with him on </em>
<a title=Google+ href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/117459637128204205101/posts” target=_blank rel=author>Google+</a>.</p>