Plant asparagus crowns now to enjoy one of the most delicious and long-lived crops in the garden.
Asparagus is fantastic value for money, as once you’ve planted it your crop will provide fat, succulent spears each spring for 20 years or even more! All you need is a pack of one-year-old crowns, and you’ll find an excellent selection on sale in our garden centre here in Broughshane right now.
Choose your variety carefully, as you’ll be picking it for some time to come. Modern all-male varieties are more productive, and often more tolerant of less-than-perfect conditions. Heritage varieties like ‘Connover’s Colossal’ major on flavour. There are also purple stemmed varieties if you fancy something a bit different.
Plant your crowns in full sun, in a bed that has good drainage. Asparagus hate soggy soil, so if you are gardening on claggy clay try building a raised bed to get the roots out of the damp.
Once you get your crowns home, soak them in a bucket of water for about half an hour before planting to rehydrate them. Enrich the soil with plenty of well-rotted manure, soil improver and garden compost, and scatter over some slow release seaweed meal fertiliser for good measure.
While this is happening, dig out a 30cm deep, flat-bottomed trench, and then mound up a 15cm high ridge along the bottom. Drape the crowns on top with their spidery roots hanging down each side, spaced about 30cm apart. They should sit so the growing shoots are just below the soil’s surface. Finally, pull the soil carefully back into the trench.
Leave your asparagus to grow for two full years so they have the chance to put down good, solid roots; after that you can slice off as many spears as you can eat each spring for decades to come.