Growing Asparagus in Andalucia

Growing Asparagus in Andalucia isn’t easy!

Asparagus, or garden asparagus, folk name sparrow grass, scientific name Asparagus officinalis, is a perennial flowering plant species in the genus Asparagus. Its young shoots are used as a spring vegetable. There; that’s what Wikipedia tells us.

Up until two years ago, there was very little of the stuff grown around the Trabuco area, then, all of a sudden, it seemed like the world and his wife were crouched down planting asparagus. Mind you, I didn’t even them one bit! it looked like it was real backbreaking work.

Starting to Plant

The first we knew, a few cars turned up at the fields to the right of our little barrio, they had a lot of sacks containing what looked like dead weeds. Like these, in the photo.

planting asparagus
These, believe it or not, will one day become lovely asparagus plants.

First, they ploughed the land, and, whilst this was going on, the workers separated these bags of weed-like crowns into single plants. When the land was ready, four people planted the asparagus crowns one at a time. Making sure they were spaced out correctly. This took the best part of a week. They were then covered over with soil and that was pretty much that, for the moment at least.

From time to time, these same four people would turn up and, on their hands and knees, went all over the land to pull out any weeds, by hand. It looks like a horrible job.

Asparagus Andalucia. Growing Asparagus in Spain
Think about this; every one of those asparagus stalks was planted by hand. fancy the job?

Eventually, we saw the first tips of the new plants and, before long, they were shooting up all over the place. They look like bright green feather dusters. Again, these same four people were back, on their hands and knees, pulling up the weeds.

Asparagus Andalucia. Growing Asparagus in Spain
The land gets ploughed over and we wait for next spring. Some weeding will be done before.

Time to harvest

Once the plants have grown up, some are taken as a first harvest but not them all. They are allowed to go to seed, after which they are cut to ground level and burned. The surface of the land is then rotovated and made ready for the next year.

Asparagus Andalucia. Growing Asparagus in Spain
Sitting the asparagus in a bowl of water keeps it fresh for a week.

So, the next time you get to chow down on some tasty green stems, think of the poor people who have to harvest the stuff on their hands and knees.

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