These six words all deserve some attention.
Asparagus is considered a delicacy among vegetable lovers everywhere. The spears are prized for their unique flavor and versatility in preparation. Asparagus is also an attractive garden plant, even in the off season. If you love eating asparagus, you'll also love growing it. Like all vegetables, asparagus fresh out the garden far outshines anything bought in a supermarket.
Jersey Supreme is a cultivar that is especially popularbecause it adapts to most environments. It can handle cold climates (from Zone 4 through 9) and it's also drought tolerant. Jersey Supreme Asparagus plants outyield the other two Jersey varieties, Jersey Giant and Jersey Knight. Spears are plump but not squat, and medium length. Jersey Supreme is a great universal variety for all cooking preparations, including boiling, roasting, baking, stir-frying, freezing and pickling.
The"Hybrid" part of Jersey Supreme Hybrid Asparagus means the variety was bred for specific qualities. In the case of Jersey Supreme, the coveted qualities are a bountiful harvest, as well as a high tolerance to crown and root rot, rust, and fusarium wilt. Hybrid asparagus varieties hold up well in cold weather. Some even tolerate frost and light snow.
All-male crowns are preferred for several reasons. Traditional asparagus plants have both male and female counterparts. All-male hybrid plants don't produce seed, which in the female plant takes energy and nutrients away from producing the edible vegetables, and it also creates a weeding hassle for gardeners when the seeds drop to the soil. All-male varieties have much higher yields of spears.
The crown is where the production happens. Asparagus should be grown in either full or part sun and dry to average soil. Asparagus is best planted as one- or two-year-old bare root plants in early spring. First, make a trench about 8 inches deep in soil with good drainage. Add organic matter and a high-phosphorus fertilizer to the bottom of the trench. Space plants about 18 inches apart in the row. Cover the crowns with soil and water moderately to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Gradually fill in the trench as the young plants grow. Asparagus roots will spread horizontally underground as the plant matures.
Do not harvest any asparagus spears the first year after planting. A light harvest can be made the second and third years. In subsequent years, the harvesting period should end by mid- to late June to allow for growth and plant nutrient storage.
If you're new to Jersey Supreme Hybrid Asparagus, try planting a few along with other Jersey varieties to see which ones produce best for your soil, sunlight, water and climate conditions. All three cultivars produce deep green spears that are plump, succulent and attractive.
Plain, steamed asparagus is as popular as any preparation. However, it can be served like most green vegetables, cooked into casseroles, covered in bÃ©arnaise or hollandaise sauce, roasted with garlic, or parboiled and chopped into cold salads. It preserves wonderfully, frozen or pickled for feasting throughout the cold winter months.