asparagus collection crowns
- Position: full sun
- Soil: any moderately, fertile soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Eagerly awaited each year, Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to be harvested in the garden. It is packed full of vitamins C & E, particularly when eaten straight from the garden. Once considered a luxury vegetable (the supermarkets still price them as such!), they have now become one of the most sought-after vegetable for the garden or allotment. They are relatively easy to grow, provided they are in a well drained soil, and the key to success is in the soil preparation. Once they are established they should crop for up to 20 years, with each crown yielding nine to twelve spears per harvesting season. Stop cutting in late June to enjoy the spectacular, tall, ferny foliage.
In this collection you will receive the following varieties.
- asparagus 'Mondeo' (Very early season):'Mondeo' is a particularly early, all male variety, that will produce a bumper crop of high quality spears. These have a strong flavour, which makes them suitable for both cooking, or eating raw.
- asparagus 'Pacific 2000' (early to mid season):Exceptionally flavoured green spears. Highly rated in taste tests for its flavour both cooked and raw. The all green tight-headed spears are particularly tender and can be sliced in salads.
- asparagus 'Guelph Millennium' (late season):This all male variety is very vigorous and it is a consistent top performer producing heavy yields Growers have reported out-yielding Backlim by up to 20%
- Garden care: Your asparagus will arrive as bare-root crowns and should be unpacked and planted as soon as possible. They need a sunny spot, shelter from strong winds and well-prepared soil that ideally has had lots of manure or compost added in the previous autumn. Good drainage is important too, so if your soil is heavy and wet, it would be advisable to grow them in a raised bed.
Prepare the bed well (ideally in the autumn before planting) by removing all the weeds and digging in lots of well-rotted manure or composted organic matter. When planting, dig a trench approximately 30cm wide and 20cm deep and work a little more organic matter into the base of the trench. Using the excavated soil, create a 10cm tall, arched ridge down the length of the trench and sit the crowns on top. Allow 30-45cm between each plant. Spread the roots out to form a star-shape and cover them with the remaining soil, leaving the tops of the crowns just visible. Subsequent rows should be at 45cm intervals with staggered planting. Immediately after planting, water thoroughly and mulch with a generous layer of composted organic matter. During the growing season keep them well fed with a dressing of general purpose fertiliser and make sure the bed stays free of weeds. The first spears will appear soon after planting, but it is important that these are not cut, but allowed to develop into feathery stems throughout the summer. These can be cut back to just above ground level after they have started to die back in autumn. Before the new spears appear in subsequent years, make a ridge of soil over each row and apply a dressing of general purpose fertiliser. If you can, try to resist harvesting the spears, which appear in the second year too, as the plant should be left to develop a robust crownbefore you begin cutting the spears in their third year.
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