Asparagus

Family: Asparagaceae

Countries: Afghanistan, Africa, Albania, Asia, Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Europe, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mediterranean, Middle East, Mongolia, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey

Asparagus, also known by its botanical name of Asparagus officinalis, is a delectable vegetable, which is made even more appetising when you eat the spears the same day they are harvested.  The sooner you eat asparagus spears, the sweeter they taste.  Freshly harvested asparagus spears have a familiarly sweet quality, it’s rather like the sweetness we enjoy when we eat freshly harvested sweetcorn.  I adore asparagus!

Asparagus is a permanent vegetable – it needs to be planted in a permanent asparagus bed where it will stay and crop for many years.  Asparagus can be sown from seed, but it’s better to plant one year old asparagus crowns in springtime.

Asparagus thrives in well drained, weed free soils.  This lovely vegetable flourishes in raised beds with the addition of a mulch of home-made compost.

After planting your asparagus crowns, it’s important to water the young crowns when necessary, and to thoroughly weed the asparagus bed regularly.  It’s just as important to remember not harvest any spears for a minimum of two years, but possibly as long as three years after planting.  By not harvesting the spears from your young plants, you’re allowing the asparagus plants to build themselves up to be big, and strong plants, that are well established enough in their situation to produce a harvest.

Keep your asparagus bed weed free, water the young asparagus plants where necessary in periods of drought, and keep the developing fronds supported using sticks or canes, and string.  This will help to produce strong and healthy asparagus plants that will be productive for many years.

If you are lucky enough to have mature, established asparagus crowns, harvest asparagus regularly until 21st June.  After this date, leave all the spears that appear, allowing them all to grow up and develop into fronds, this will ensure that your asparagus plants are strong enough to produce a good harvest next year.

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