Not many vegetables conjure up the taste of early summer as well as good old asparagus. It’s much loved and most of us have our preferred way of eating it – drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt perhaps, or wrapped in parma ham. It’s also one of the few veg plants that will grow again year after year making it something of an investment in your veg patch. Once established you can expect your asparagus bed to provide you with a great crop of your own home-grown asparagus spears for around 25 years if you plant it in a permanent bed or 5 years if growing in a pot.
When you plant them in the first year, you basically leave them to do their thing and develop lots of foliage. You don’t harvest anything in this first year. This is to allow the plant to develop and strengthen so that you get seriously good crops in subsequent years. In year two, you might be tempted to harvest a few spears (if you can resist this temptation you will be rewarded with bigger, longer harvests in the future) and in year three you can merrily cut off those tasty spears for around 6 full weeks in late spring and early summer.
All this waiting can sound a bit off-putting, but we’re keen to persuade you. As one of the plants that goes into the ground the earliest (usually late March/early April), you can easily set a bit of time aside to get your asparagus bed going and then, apart from a little bit of feeding and weeding during the spring and summer, there’s very little work to do leaving you free to tend to all your other veggies. A couple of years later, you’ll have something that all your friends and neighbours will be exceedingly jealous of; your own home-grown organic and truly delicious asparagus. And, don’t forget, that each asparagus crown will produce around 25 asparagus spears – that’s a couple of bunches per plant, so with just 5-10 crowns you could be harvesting quite a nice amount of asparagus each year.
If we’ve managed to convince you and you’re keen to give it a go, then please read our post how to start an asparagus bed.