Cultural instructions for your Asparagus
23 April 2021
Soil preparation is vital. Remove perennial weeds and large stones. Dig in well-rotted manure or compost. The site should be open and sunny for best results. When planting asparagus, use first year crowns, which are tolerant to cold weather. A bed of asparagus canlast up to 20 years.
Dig a trench about 20cm (8") deep and at least 30cm (12") wide, this will allow each individual crown to have its roots fully spread out. Create a mound of soil about 7cm (3") high along the bottom of the trench for the crowns to rest upon. Set the crowns 37-45cm (15-18") apart. Cover with 5-7cm (2-3") of fine soil, and press firmly. Allow 75cm (30") between rows. Gradually fill in with soil as the plant becomes established.
For the first season keep the bed well watered and do not cut the spears in the first year. let them grow on and develop "ferns" (leaves), which should be cut at ground level in November, or when it has yellowed. Now liberally mulch the asparagus with well-rotted manure or compost. The following spring add a dose of well balanced fertiliser using about 30g (1oz) per plant. Only make the most frugal cutting of spears at this time. The following year is the time when you can cut as many spears as necessary, as you will have a full crop of succulent spears. It will be worth the wait - fresh English asparagus eaten within minutes of being picked is one of the greatest gourmet treats.
In the Kitchen
Steaming is the classical method of preparing asparagus. It is then served hot with melted butter or hot or cold with an oil and vinegar dressing. The golden rule is to avoid storing or cooking for too long.
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