|It was worth waiting 3.5 years for them! We won't always have them in melted salted butter though; |
I imagine in the future there will be lots of them so a healthier option needs to be found!
Female asparagus ferns have red berries like in the picture below, and this is what I was given. Each berry contains many seeds but I just put the whole seed in a small pot, and put the pots in my cold frame during winter. In the spring tiny fern fronds emerged. Loads of them of course, so I had to do a lot of pricking out to get individual plants into their own pots.
|Asparagus berries. (The orange colour in the background were some marigolds |
that self seeded and I didn't have the heart to weed out).
Here are some baby ferns which have just come up this year in my asparagus bed, and as I lost one of my original plants I'll be potting up one to nuture this summer before planting out in the autumn. So this is what they looked like that first year. But from now on these will be weeded out!
Some plants grew bigger than others but by the first autumn it was time to plant them out in their final position. This of course entailed creating an asparagus bed and preparing the soil well. I added quite a lot of bought compost rather than using our own home grown because I thought there would be fewer weeds this way, but that was a stupid waste of money because there are weed seeds in the soil anyway, and weeds will appear whether you like it or not!
One thing I could not find on the internet which is why I am writing this now in the hope that it helps someone else who has the same dilemma, is how do you plant out asparagus that has been grown in a pot? If you buy crowns, they are bare rooted and you are supposed to dig a trench, make a ridge within the trench, and spread the roots over that ridge, then backfill in over the crowns. But my plants were just plants in pots so what was I supposed to do? In the end I planted them like any other plant in a pot - made a hole and bunged them in. It works.
I planted out 14 plants not really knowing how many would be the right amount for 2 people, but I'll let you know in later years if that was too many!
|23rd Sept 2011. Newly prepared and planted asparagus bed. Surprisingly my OH even |
managed to find some decent straight wood which is very hard in France.
|26th May 2012, thin spears.|
Each year we have added more compost to the soil to enrich it, and I have no idea what other people do, but these ferns get very tall and flop everywhere and often break off in the wind.
|July 2012. They really are ferns, only they flop all over the place. I tried to keep them |
upright a bit with the wire plant supports but it didn't help much!
This year was THE year, the year that I could crop. I was very hesitant as I didn't want to cut too many, so waited until I could see another spear appearing before I cut one. A few plants still had thin spears so I didn't touch them, but some were a lot thicker than my thumb so altogether I've cut about 30 spears. Also I didn't know if I needed one of those special asparagus knives but I just used an ordinary gardening knife and that was fine.
|This year (25th March), the first spears to start |
to emerge through the horse poo.
Yes they are pushing up through a nice ridge of well rotted horse poo, courtesy of my horsey neighbours. I think the asparagus will be happy. :-)
|As you can see, they green up as they grow bigger.|
|6th April, coming through fast and furious.|
So, I think I can say it has been successful! I have no idea what variety these are but they are certainly chunky ones and very tasty.
|Yum! Every bit as delicious as I had imagined.|
|7th May - they are bushier now but also a lot weedier so I'm not showing you that!|
It's a crop which should fill some of the hungry gap between the PSB and early summer veg but I wonder if we'll be sick of asparagus eventually? Well if we are, I doubt the neighbours will say no!