Question ...

I am preparing a bed for asparagus. I have never grown this vegetable. The bed is on my allotment and it has been dug and I am awaiting the arrival of the plants. What manure etc do I need to dig in? Do I dig a trench?

Answer ...

Asparagus crowns are usually planted in trenches. Good preparation is important. In particular, remove all weeds before planting, as this is a permanent crop, and weeding will be difficult once growth has developed. Well rotted manure or garden compost should be dug into the area before planting.

Plant without delay in March and early April. Dig a trench 25cm (10in) deep, 30cm (12in) wide, forming a mounded ridge of soil along the bottom. When sitting on this mound the crowns should be 10cm (4in) deep. Spread out the fragile roots carefully, then gently fill in the trench to the level of the crowns. Keep filling as they grow, always leaving 8-10cm (3-4in) of stem showing.

  • Rows: Space plants 30-40cm x 2m (12-16in x 6ft).
  • Beds: Asparagus is traditionally grown in 3-row beds, with 30cm (12in) between plants and rows, and 1.3m (4.5ft) between beds.

Keep watered in the first year to establish. Protect young shoots with horticultural fleece in cold springs.

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