Saturday, June 02, 2012
I know that you would take my hand
When putting asparagus plants in the ground, one digs a trench twelve inches deep. As the asparagus grows, one fills in the trench around it. It spreads out a network of roots that eventually shoot up in the spring, at which point one cuts down the asparagus. Sort of like fiddleheads, the one wild-foraged vegetable around here that really seems worth it.
We gathered probably two pounds of fiddleheads, the immature fronts of nascent ferns, last weekend, for omelets and stir-fry, and they were delicious. So I've finally eaten fiddleheads from right here, and maybe, in a couple of years, I'll eat asparagus, too. Those are the actual roots in the photograph up there. Real roots.
I'm digging in real roots. It's actually the first time that I've invested money in something that I then put in the ground to be there, like, really, forever. Or not. Twenty years is average for an asparagus, but Crockett, of whom I am a garden disciple, says he saw a plant in Kew Gardens that had been producing spears for 118 years.
So, theoretically, those wispy roots could be pumping out asparagus when I am long dead. It's a sobering feeling. I write a lot about home, about what it really means, but maybe that's it. Digging things in the dirt that will last a long time. Making plans to stay in a place for a while. It's so alien to me, and yet, already, in my second year, I'm happy to be able to identify the wildflowers.