Raised beds

Planting asparagus crowns

This weekend the post brought a nice surprise, the asparagus crowns we ordered last year. We ordered from Suttons and they deliver them ready at the optimum time for planting. Now both J and I love asparagus but at the price it is in the supermarket it ends up being a luxury treat vegetable rather than a weekly pleasure. So when we decided to start growing some vegetables asparagus was high on my list to try. Now asparagus has a great advantage in that once planted and established it will produce annually for somewhere between 10 and 20 years. So after a bit of research we ordered ten asparagus crowns of the Mondeo variety (a crown is essentially a year old set of roots which is ready for immediate planting). This weekend they arrived and I was able to plant them straight into one of our raised beds. Raised beds are ideal for growing asparagus as they appreciate lots of good drainage, they hate sitting with wet roots (to be fair I hate sitting with wet feet too).

Asparagus is quite unusual to plant compared to many other vegetables. First you need to dig a trench about 6 to 12 inches deep and six inches wide. You can pile your soil to the side as you will need it later. If you haven’t already done so, then you need to ensure that there are some nutrient rich material added here to the bottom of the trench such a well rotten manure, compost of leaf mulch. Then in the middle of your trench create a small mound running down the centre, see picture below. It is on this mound that your crowns will sit.

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Asparagus crowns need to be planted about 30cm apart. To plant put the crown on top of the mound in the middle of your trench and spread out the roots as much as possible, see picture below.

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You can then cover them back up with the soil that you removed earlier and water well. Asparagus should not be harvested in its first year so for us this particular raised bed will need weeding and watering but no harvesting this summer. However, our efforts should pay off with a good supply of asparagus next year, hopefully. To make sure that this bed is not totally unproductive this year we are planning on adding some salad to the bed in the summer. It’s also the closest one to the house so easiest to pick fresh for dinner.

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