I finally got round to weeding and fertilizing the third and last asparagus bed this week. I should have done it in the autumn, but I reckon it's probably better late than never. One notable feature of asparagus is its deep roots, so fertilizer applied to the surface will take ages to get deep enough to make any difference, anyway. Season of application probably isn't critical.
There's nothing to show for this at this stage, just a muddy looking strip with fewer weeds than the surrounding garden, so you'll have to make do with a photo of a tiny asparagus spear, taken in May 2012.
Asparagus is a perennial vegetable, usually grown from
crowns, which are one-year-old plants that look like a spidery mass of roots. Having planted some of these in the garden of my previous house, I noticed that one of the plants had produced berries shortly before we moved house. I picked the berries and saved seeds from them to plant in the garden here.
Even when grown from crowns, it takes two to three years before asparagus is strong enough to harvest (some sources say that a limited harvest may be taken in the second year, others advise leaving it entirely alone until the third year). Harvesting involves cutting all the young shoots back to ground level, so the plant needs to be strong enough to put out new shoots and continue growing, several times, for as long as harvesting continues. It's essential to stop at some point - traditionally midsummer - to allow the plant to get on and do its thing. Having sown from seed, this presumably adds a year to the time before I can start harvesting, so from sowing in 2011, it should be ready for a light harvest either this year or next. Last year's spears were a little thicker than the one pictured, but not much, so I'm not optimistic they'll be ready to harvest this year. I'll let you know.Other garden tasks this week
- Planting out two more rows parsnip seedlings - gosh, this is fiddly!
- Planting garlic and shallots in between rows of parsnips
- Digging over almost half of the potato patch
- Moving more soil and plants to the terrace
- Gathering more fallen leaves and adding them to the heap behind the greenhouse
- Monitoring seedlings in the greenhouse - there are a few - with occasional watering, adjusting sheets of glass, and turning heat on and off
- Weeding - always weeding
Unexpected potatoes. They get less unexpected each time one surfaces.
Wild garlic - it's only just big enough to pick here. We're a few weeks behind other foraging spots I've heard about, even some quite local ones.
Crab apple and rowan jelly
Courgette puree (from freezer)
Blackberry and elderberry wine
Parsnip and nettle ale
Cultivated plants challenge summary page here.