A native of Mediterranean climates, asparagus gives the best growth in warm conditions, with its roots in the fertile and free-draining soil. Avoid sites where late frost is common, grow in raised beds it soil is dense clay, and add lime if the soil is on the acidic side.

As well as its great flavor, asparagus offer meals during the hungry gap when there are few other fresh green vegetables. If you have the space, grow at least 10 plans for worthwhile amounts to eat, which may amount to 25 spears per plant, through May and June mostly.

PREPARING THE GROUND

The clearing soil of any perennial weeds is a top priority – you must be clear of couch grass for example at otherwise it is difficult to control once asparagus is growing. The classic approach is digging and root removal but you are unlikely to find all roots in one раss. It saves your time to mulch untilled, weedy soil with compost and polythene too, until no more weeds are appearing.

fall leaves

Whichever method you choose, where couch grass or bindweed or other vigorous perennial weeds are established. I would spend a year cleaning soil before planting, either with cultivations or mulching. Meanwhile, you can save money by raising your own plants from seed, while weeds are being eliminated.

If there are no perennial weeds, simple hand weeding or turning the soil will make ready for planting, then a mulch of well-decomposed organic matter gives great results, topped up annually.

SOWING SEEDS

Growing from seed, notably of all-male varieties, in more economical than purchasing takes as much as a year more before picking although crowns. There are fewer losses at planting time compared to the 10% of crowns that may fail and leave gaps in the row. Also seedlings in роts are easier to put than crowns.

Alter a month seedlings can go into 9cm (3 ½ in) pots for another two months, and are prepared to plant in the summer, or pot on and plant in fall.

PLANTING CROWNS

Crowns are offered for sale from November but are traditionally planted in March/early April and I find this the best time. Scrape off the top 7-10 cm (3-4in) of soil in a convex shape, higher in the centre, and plate crowns with their roots spread in all directions, then recover with soil. Best growth is in warmer, drier conditions near the surface so avoid planting too deep, then spread 3-5cm (1-2in) compost on top, which can also be decomposed animal manure. This feeds the plants and makes weeding easier. Should you fancy growing the more difficult white asparagus, plant crowns at 20cm (8in).

SPACING

Asparagus likes a long root run so 45cm (18in) between plants in the minimum, with a 75cm (30in) path or edge. Planting at 60cm (24in) gives healthier plants after 10-12 rears, with crowns increasing in size every year. Because of this, you will notice less summer growth on other vegetables that are close to the bed of tall ferns, especially in dry summers.

 

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