Grow your own Asparagus
Once you’ve tasted fresh asparagus, you’ll (never)ever eat the tinned variety again. The only thing is, it tends to be rather expensive if you buy it fresh from the shops, and it’s far more cost effective to grow in your own garden. It requires a bit of patience at first, but once you reach the second and third harvests, it’s all plain sailing.
Planting tips :
- Asparagus is grown from seed in seedling trays. The seeds produce small crowns, which are then transplanted into the soil. For asparagus novices, it’s easiest to buy the ready grown crowns and transplant these straight into your garden.
- Asparagus grows best in well-draining loamy soil with a pH of between 5 and 6 (slightly acidic).
- Plant crowns 20cm deep and feed with a handful of 3:2:1 fertiliser per square metre. Water well.
- Do not harvest asparagus for the first two years. The root system eventually extends to a length of two metres, and it needs to be fully established before you can harvest.
- In the third year, you can harvest asparagus for four weeks in September, in the fourth year for eight weeks and from the fifth year onwards for 12 weeks. If you look after your plants, they will continue to provide you with crops for the next 20 years.
- After harvesting, leave the plant to go dormant and cut the foliage down to the ground when the weather cools down again in autumn.
Did you know? Ancient Romans regarded asparagus as a delicacy. They liked it so much that there were special ‘asparagus fleets’ which transported the crop from all over the world to the Roman Empire.
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