Asparagus In The Ornamental Border
Traditionally grown in the vegetable garden asparagus is greedy for both time and space and once settled it does not like to move. Asparagus requires around 3 years before you can even start harvesting a crop and the plants can eventually grow to height of 2.0m and achieve a spread of 90cm.
If you want to grow asparagus but have limited space in your vegetable plot it might be worth considering growing this crop in your garden beds. With its beautiful bright green foliage and fern like appearance this plant would not look out of place in your garden borders and may be a talking point with fellow gardeners when they try to figure out what you are growing.
Asparagus does not like to be moved so make sure you chose the right place for them, a sunny position is best, but make sure you can access them so you will be able to harvest the spears.
You can grow asparagus from crowns and these can be planted in spring into fertile well drained soil, you can incorporate some well rotted manure before planting to improve the soil.
Asparagus prefer a ph of 6.5-7.5 so if you have an acidic soil a dressing of lime is advised. The plants are relatively easy to look after a general fertilizer such as growmore in March make sure to keep the plants well watered throughout summer, however do take care when weeding as they have very shallow roots and these can be easily damaged with a hoe, so if in the you can weeding by hand is best. In the Autumn cut back any old or yellowing growth and give them a mulch with some well rotted manure.
Now you have your plants you will want to enjoy your crop.
The basic guidelines are
Do not harvest for the first 2 years as this enables the plants to establish.
In the 3rd year you can harvest for 6 weeks from mid April.
The following years you have a harvest season of 8 weeks from mid April.
You harvest the spears when they are around 18cm tall and using a sharp knife cut them back to around 2.5cm under the soil.
So if you have run out of space in your vegetable plot and are looking to fill your borders with something different try a little bit of edible/ornamental planting.
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