Spring has certainly sprung a few days early at our place. The winds are warm and blustery and the big, docile flies are finding their way into my kitchen. My apricot tree is just starting to blossom and shearing is just around the corner.
Harvesting from my faithful asparagus patch has once again commenced. Every year I am happy to see these green spears peek through the mulch. Below I have shared my simple asparagus growing tips. Tomorrow I will share a recipe for my favourite spring inspired asparagus fried rice.
Spring can be a lean time in the veggie garden. The brassicas have almost finished while the summer vegetables are still developing. Growing asparagus will ensure you always have something green to harvest during the transition from winter to early summer. With some space and time, asparagus will reward you with a long term crop that you can look forward to harvesting for years to come.
You will need to dedicate a permanent area for asparagus, free from other plants and weeds. Asparagus can look quite unruly so you may want to consider this when picking a space for it. Prepare the soil with plenty of compost, organic matter and or well-rotted cow manure. Purchase asparagus crowns either online or from a nursery in late winter. Bury the crowns in a trench 15-20 cm deep, cover them with soil and water thoroughly.
Mulch with straw or hay once the spears are visible. Water asparagus thoroughly 2-3 times per week during spring and summer. Do not harvest any asparagus spears that may appear within the first 2 years, instead allow them to turn to ferny foliage. This allows the plant to build up strength in the root system. In late autumn to early winter cut back all foliage to ground level and top dress the whole area with well-rotted cow manure and mulch.
After patiently waiting for 2 years, asparagus can be harvested in spring through to early summer. Cut off spears at ground level with a sharp knife when they are 15-20cm tall. Trim the stems if necessary, prior to cooking. Harvest should cease in early to mid December, allowing the spears to turn to ferny growth, once again. This will build up strength for the winter dormancy.
Following the first harvest continue the cycle:
• In late autumn to early winter cut back all ferny foliage to ground level and top dress the whole area with well-rotted cow manure and mulch.
• Harvest in spring through to early summer.
• Cease harvest in early to mid December, allowing the spears to turn to ferny growth, once again.
Are you growing asparagus? Do you have any tips to share?
Happy spring, to my Southern Hemisphere friends x