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Asparagus peeking through.

Asparagus peeking through this past spring.

Sometimes, picking what to plant in the garden is easy.  We love to eat asparagus.  Asparagus is not common here in Ireland.  It is therefore on the pricey side in the market, and I haven’t even seen any local organic asparagus.  So there you go, decision made: let’s try our hand at growing asparagus!

Asparagus in June.

Asparagus in June.

I posted about our asparagus plants earlier this year: https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/end-of-june-roses-poppies-but-wait-asparagus-brussels-sprouts-too/   We planted some crowns last year, but only a few took.  So this past spring we really primed the bed well, adding our own compost, as well as good quality mushroom compost.  The results were amazing!  Every crown took.  Asparagus like well drained soil, and in our case of having heavy soil it is essential to have a well prepared bed. It is also important to keep the bed well weeded.  Careful with a hoe, though, as the roots are very close to the surface.

Asparagus plants' first year of growth. November 2013.

Asparagus plants’ first year of growth. November 2013.

A close-up of over grown first year asparagus plants grown from crowns.

A close-up of over grown first year asparagus plants grown from crowns.

Planting crowns allows you to harvest the asparagus after one season. When planting from seed, it is recommended to wait until the second season to begin harvesting.  I think it is worth paying a bit more for the crowns to save that year of waiting! After planting the crowns, then watching them grow, we had to wait until November to finally cut down all of the stems and feathery fronds.  Those fronds are important for nourishing the roots, so it is good to wait until they start to turn yellow before cutting them off.  I added all of these cuttings to my compost pile.

Asparagus greens atop the freshly added leaves  in the compost.

Asparagus greens atop the freshly added leaves in the compost.

If I take the advice from Monty don in The Complete Gardener,  I will only take two cuttings next spring.  The following year I will stop cuttings on June 1st.  After that, we don’t have to keep track anymore!

The freshly cut asparagus bed.

The freshly cut asparagus bed.

A lovely bouquet of asparagus fronds!

A lovely bouquet of asparagus fronds!

To harvest, it is best to cut the stem just below the surface of the soil, about an inch down.  The stems grow quite quickly during their spring season.  But that is jumping ahead a bit. Let’s get through this fall and winter, before talking about our spring harvest!

November 16, 2013

November 16, 2013.

Such beautiful weather we’ve had!  I am simply pulled outside to work in the garden…

Capturing the changing colors.

Capturing the changing colors.

My blueberry bushes turn a lovely red in the fall, while my beech hedges turn from green, to yellow, to brown for the winter.

Look how the sunlight completely changes this picture!

The sunlight completely changes the picture to me.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed reading about growing asparagus!

Happy Fall!
Dana

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