Allotment Asparagus – first make your asparagus bed …

So we’ve got some asparagus and now it needs a home. It’s a long term business, is asparagus. Forget your cut and come again crops, your sow and forget ‘em beans and carrots, asparagus are prima donna types, but to be fair, they produce for 10-20 years once established and are a wonderfully healthy crop, high in B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, and iron as well as being as tasty as it is possible for anything to be and still be legal.

Asparagus thrives in full sun and prefers a light, well-drained soil. It will not tolerate competition; so prepare the planting area carefully and keep it mulched after planting. Asparagus is a heavy feeder so stonking great applications of compost will provide the necessary nutrients. A garden bed should be at least four feet wide and as long as necessary and you should dig the soil down for at least a foot. We’re planting up a three foot by four foot raised bed, which is not a huge space for asparagus, but I’m going to make a mini trench alongside the west facing fence to take the ‘overflow’ crowns, so they won’t be wasted, they just won’t get such perfect conditions.

We dug the surface last weekend, so this weekend I shall be forking in around three inches of a mixture of mushroom compost and well-rotted horse manure. The hope is that by the time we’re ready to plant out the seedlings – say around late April, the ‘ingredients’ will have blended nicely. Then, usually, you dig trenches of at least ten inches deep and ten wide, about two and a half feet apart. We shall be staggering our seedlings in the bed, rather than trenching them, as we’d only get about three plants if we used the traditional method!

Anyway, the whole trenching thing is just designed to help the plants grow, so we can do that in a raised bed by adding soil to the bed as a whole. The classic style is to add two inches compost to the bottom of the trench, then an inch of soil to stop the organic material scorching the asparagus.

Then you put the asparagus on this mound of goodness, and if you’re trench planting, you set them 15 to 18 inches apart. Put a couple of inches of soil over the plants, and water. When the first spears appear, fill in around them until the trench is level with the soil surface, without covering the asparagus foliage. Once you reach that level, you should mulch the plants with a good layer of compost or some other organic material and make sure you weed well, you don't want the kind of weed undergrowth you can see in this picture, for example!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, March 12, 2009


Blogger John said...

So I can grow some in my back garden, how high do the plants grow to(i.e. the mature height)?

January 22, 2012 at 8:07 AM  

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