Tuesday, September 8, 2009

spring flush

I'm happy to be home when the Asparagus is at its peak! I have had this asparagus for about five years and I get more asparagus and bigger spears each year. I got the seeds from seedsavers and they were called “Brocks Imperial” (I’ll try to save some more seed this year). Needless to say I’ll probably keep growing this variety and passing on the seed. Asparagus must be one of the easiest things to grown in Alice. It loves salty water and seems to thrive in an alkaline soil. I simply cut them down in the winter when they yellow off and pile on the compost or manure. They only need watering once a week due to their massive root system and they are nematode resistant. Pick them for 8 – 12 weeks as rule of thumb – or stop picking before this time if the shoots begin getting thinner and weaker. Pets may include grasshoppers (usually not enough around to be damaging) and slaters may try to munch on the new shoots as the come out of the ground. Grasshoppers will also seek shelter in the asparagus ”bushes” every time you try to catch them in the garden, so go out in the morning when they are slower if you intend on catching them.

The Mulberry trees are also fruiting – perhaps the earliest fruiting seasons I’ve known after our record warm August and above average winter months. The black fruited white mulberry is the first in fruit at our place followed by the “white” fruited white Mulberry. The other Mulberry people grow in Alice is the English Mulberry and this one tends to fruit much later and is a much slower grower than the white mulberry.
The white mulberry is one of the fastest fruit trees you can grow, provides great shade, propagates from cuttings easily, and are nematode resistant. The canes are great for using as garden stakes (and apparently for making bows for bow and arrow sets). The fruit of the white fruited mulberry dries to a sugary little sultana – and these can be stored just like sultanas and used in recipes where sultanas are called for.
The leaves of the white mulberry are apparently high in protein and on par with Lucerne. They are very popular with my rabbits.
The fruits of the black mulberry are also high in an antioxidant or two.
Beware seedling mulberries – these are quite common if you have any areas that get watered. These mulberries that grow from seeds dropped by birds are very often sterile or non fruiting. The known fruiting varieties must be self pollinating and thus do not require any other mulberry. It is possible that some of these sterile trees are actually male trees – because I have heard stories of them shedding pollen (which my mulberries don’t do)

mix fresh mulberries with marscapone chesse or ricotta and a drizzle of honey. mix up a bit and you will enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Chris. I look forward to reading more.
    You're probably right about male mulberries- we have 2 trees, both flower, only one fruits.