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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Asparagus

image and asparagus crowns from here

I've been dreaming of asparagus for a while now.

Fresh green stalks popping up every year heralding the end of winter and putting a big spring in my step. Yummy asparagus cooked with a fresh goog from the girls and a shaving of parmesan, asparagus enclosed in rice noodles in the middle of a rice paper roll, or in a stir fry, or with pasta... oh I'd be doing a load of yummy things with asparagus and surely eventually even convince the monkeys to eat some too. Oh yeah, if I grew asparagus I'd think myself the bees knees. A true blue gardener.

What put me off was the thought that asparagus needs a fair bit of room and a permanent spot. And I didn't think I had that. Until I started my grass-ridding campaign. Bit by bit I've been digging up the grass and putting in little brick paths and planting in veggies and flowers and herbs wherever I see a bit of space. And I've been seeing little growing spots all over the place.

See here between the path and sleepers of my onion patch I've planted a whole bunch of parsley seedlings.

And here is a bit of my new asparagus patch.

Ta da...

Yep. I know. It sure doesn't look much now. But time flies quickly. In fact only yesterday I was lamenting how quickly time flies when I discovered my first grey hair poking it's frizzy, shimmery self out of my head. So it won't be long before I have asparagus. And start to dye my hair.

This spot previously housed a couple of miserable passionfruit vines which did absolutely nothing for three years. One flower in all that time. I decided to give up and ripped the lot out. Then I did a big dig out of the patch. That's what my asparagus youtubing revealed. Prepare the ground well 'cos with any luck asparagus will be growing there for 20 years. And while I was digging I unearthed part of a brick path! It did occur to me that might have been why my passionfruit and all the other veggies I'd attempted here never did too well. Next, I dug through some pelletised chook poo. And then I did something that was a complete novelty for me. I dug two trenches. Straight, orderly furrows for planting in. This really flew in the face of my veggie growing philosophy which is to chuck things in wherever I feel and never in orderly rows. But rows I did make. Thank goodness for the invention of youtube 'cos I really wouldn't have known what to do with those funny looking asparagus crowns. But apparently you spread the roots like octopus, cover them over and wait for them to grow. Then you cover them a bit more. And more as they grow until your patch is even. And then I'll do a layer of mulch and go back to the internet to get my head around what to do next.

So, fingers crossed for asparagus. And to all you successful, true-blue, bees-knees asparagus growers any tips that aren't too complicated to help me along the way will be most welcome.

21 comments:

  1. What you intend doing sounds perfect. With any luck you'll still have asparagus even when you get so old you decide to stop dyeing. All I do is give it a chop back and a good cover of mulch over winter. Once esablished it's quite easy to look after.

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  2. I have been putting off asparagus for the same reason. Maybe it is time I too found a spot, before the one on my head gets much bigger.

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  3. Go for it Jason! My spot is small but I have another spot nearby that I'm going to watch over the year to see how much sun it gets and maybe plant out more. (That a veggie spot - fortunately I don't have one developing on my head).
    Thanks Missy - good to hear.

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  4. Oh no Suzanne! Surely not all of them?!

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  5. Well done!! I've had asparagus for a couple of years now, last year being the first year I could harvest them. I always liked asparagus but that first harvest was the best asparagus ever! I'm sure your first harvest will be the same :)

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  6. One day, I too will grow asparagus. In the meantime I will watch your progress with admiration, envy and best wishes.

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  7. well as someone who has found more than one grey hair lately (hohum) and as a first time asparagus grower (we have yet to harvest ours) the only advice I can give is to allow more room than you think. Ours have spread out quite a bit, and have produced a few spears but I haven't found them early enough. So leave plenty of space - and be vigilant veggigobbler. Good luck! cheers Wendy

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  8. I am embracing my greys and hoping my asparagus do wonderful this coming year.. I was given some last year and they done wonderful...so hoping that happens again this year

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  9. "Straight, orderly furrows..."? VG, have you flipped. Is OCD catching?? Seriously, I hope your asparagus thrives, because it is a truly great veg to have in your garden. I just wish I had ten times as much. I sometimes have to save the spears up until I get a viable quantity for a proper meal. :(

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  10. Mine is starting to come up now. I eat it straight from the spot I pick it, none has made it inside yet. I too didn't have a big area for it but a few years ago I planted some in a drum. Then some in a tank and more in another drum so I now have 3 small areas. One day I will settle on a bigger area but until then I am getting some with more each year. Nothing wrong with starting small then expanding when you can.

    Good luck with yours.

    Barb.

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  11. I should make one too, if I did it years ago I would be happy now... but yes, permanent spot is not easy in the bush...

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  12. that looks like the perfect spot. I have 4 plants, and mostly snack on them while I am out in the garden so have yet to have an actual meal of them. I often get seaweed from the beach to mulch them - supposedly they love the saltiness.

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  13. You'll have a bounty before you know it. I planted some from seed and some from crowns in January 2011 and I'll start picking this coming Spring. Much faster than I imagined.

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  14. I bought hair dye the other day. I still haven't applied it, preferring to examine my hair in the dark but even then you can see greys - they kind of glow...

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  15. I stood in Bunnings the other day with half a dozen packs of asparagus crowns, the last they had. I wandered around for another half hour, to-ing and fro-ing, will I, won't I, should I, shouldn't I? I put them back. I would have had to get another small raised bed and turn it over to them permanently, with nothing else taking its turn to grow in that space for the next 20 years! Maybe next year I'll be able to bring myself to make that commitment.

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  16. I have some asparagus crowns waiting to be planted once I have dug over the bed. Apparently you should expect 10% of the plants to die off initially. Should be worth the wait for all that beautiful fresh 'organic' asparagus :-)

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  17. Mine has been in for about 18 months now. ... I think. Last Autumn it poked up some fairly healthy looking shoots. I am determined to pick and eat a couple, even if they aren't really fat enough, in the spring.

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  18. VG does your bed get heaps of sun? I sooooooo want to plant some buti don't know if our garden will still be here in 2 years time!

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  19. Good luck with the 'sparagus! Dipped in egg yolk you say? I saw the river cottage man pop some lemon in his soft boiled egg yolk with a blob of butter and it formed an instant hollandaise to dip the asparagus into. IT LOOKED AMAZING!

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  20. Bok flok it doesn't get any sun over a few weeks of winter but otherwise lots of sun. I hope you find a spot.
    Phoebe that sounds good. I was talking about a simple poached egg sitting on top of some asparagus.

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