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Organic asparagus is a type of vegetable grown from organic seeds and not treated with any chemical pesticides or fungicides. In some regions, asparagus must be certified as organic by a governing body in ordered to be marketed as an organic product. Since it is grown without pesticides, organic asparagus may need to be cleaned with care before using. Growing asparagus organically is easy to do at home with the right type of soil and growing conditions.
Conventionally grown asparagus uses a variety of chemical sprays during the growing process. Pesticides help deter bugs from finding and eating the vegetables, while fungicides prevent disease from encroaching upon the crop. While these sprays can produce a larger crop, scientific research has found that many chemical sprays remain on the vegetables, even after careful washing. Those concerned about the possible side effects of consuming chemical pesticides and fungicides may want to seek out organic produce, such as asparagus.
Though different regions have different criteria for determining which products may be labeled “organic,” the general rules tend to be similar. In most cases, certified organic asparagus must be grown without chemical products of any kind, and must be grown in chemical-free organic soil. Some regions also require that the seeds from which the crop is grown must also be certified organic. Additional requirements for certification may include that the land on which the asparagus is grown has been free from any pesticide use for several years. It may help to discover which certifying body is responsible for organic labeling in a certain region to determine which standards apply.
While organic asparagus is free from pesticides and other chemical products, that does not mean it is immediately ready for human consumption. The lack of pesticides may make it more likely that the stalks will serve as a home for a few bugs, so thorough washing is recommended. To wash organic asparagus, fill a shallow basin with enough warm water to cover the stalks, then soak for a few minutes. Since asparagus is usually grown in sandy soil, swish the ends of the stalks in the water to remove any trapped soil from the seed crevices.
Growing organic asparagus at home can be a great way to maintain complete control over the organic process. Asparagus needs sandy soil, which can usually be found at gardening supply centers. Organic compost can also be mixed in, as it provides the crop with needed potassium and phosphorus. Asparagus can be grown from the seeds of the vegetable, or by planting asparagus crowns, which will already have seedlings growing. Planting is usually done in late fall or early winter; crown-grown asparagus can take about two years before reaching full maturity.