I’ve decided to start a weekly feature on my blog every Tuesday, called “How TOuesdays” (see what I did there?). I’m hoping to help spread what little gardening knowledge I have for the benefit of my readers and share some ideas for projects for your garden. I’ll try to keep them simple and practical, if you have any suggestions for posts or would like me to do a post on something in particular, please don’t hesitate to send me a message and I’ll add it to my list. I’ve popped a contact form at the end of this post if you want to send me any feedback. You can also message me on my Facebook page, there’s a link in the side column on the left (yep, I’m coming up in the world).
So, to get started, this is the perfect time of year to plant asparagus, a tasty and pretty perennial plant that would be a lovely addition to any vegetable garden. If you have the patience to wait three years for your first crop, asparagus is one of the best crops you can plant in your vegetable garden. It’s a hardy perennial that, once established, will provide you with gorgeous spears for about six weeks every spring. Being one of those veggies that’s considered gourmet, asparagus is quite expensive to buy in most supermarkets so growing it yourself will pay off. Plus, once it is established, it will provide you with a crop for twenty years so the three year wait is small in the grand scheme of things.
The best way to plant asparagus is to grow it from crowns as opposed to from seed. You can buy asparagus crowns in most good gardening centres or seed suppliers. Asparagus crowns will benefit from fertile soil with a lot of sun and little wind.
Recommended varieties: Gijnlim, Jersey Giant
Plant asparagus in early spring.
- Dig a trench about 30 cm wide and 25cm deep.
- Add some compost and create a ridge about 10cm high down the centre of your trench
- Place each crown about 30cm apart, spreading their roots on either side of the ridge.
- Fill your trench in with soil, enough to cover your crowns and water them in well.
Mulch your asparagus bed every autumn, building up your trench slowly until it is ground level. Please resist the urge to harvest any asparagus spears in the first two years, they need time to establish themselves. In the third year, you can harvest some spears but try to keep it minimal.
Asparagus plants can grow to be quite tall so in time, you may need to provide support with bamboo canes. The plants themselves are ferny and make a pretty addition to any garden border.
Watch out for slugs, they love young asparagus shoots.
I planted my Asparagus two years ago now so it’ll be another while before I can harvest any, however, I do have a steady growth of young spears in springtime. It was very easy to plant, I was concerned about the trenching process as it seemed a bit complicated but once you have it dug, that’s the hardest part completed. If you are going to plant some crowns, try to do so in the next 3-4 weeks, otherwise it may be too late in the year for your crowns to establish.
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