ASPARAGUS (Asparagus officinalis)
Asparagus will grow in positions with full sun to partial shade. Asparagus dislikes humidity so it is best suited to the cooler climate zones. A bed of asparagus takes up to three years to produce and the bed can last up to 15 years. Initial harvest from these crowns will be 18mths after planting, generally Oct and Nov. Male plants produce more spears; the female plant produces slightly larger spears.
To prepare the bed, dig the soil well and add a liberal quantity of organic fertiliser prior to planting.
Dig a trench in well-drained soil about 20cm deep and place the crowns about 25cm apart in the trench. Cover the crown with 5cm of soil. As the plant grows gradually add more soil, but never cover the tip. Water regularly if you are in an area of low seasonal rainfall.
A small harvest can be done in the season of the year following planting, increasing over subsequent seasons. Spears can be cut at ground level when they are about 15cm-20cm long and can be cut over a period of about 10 weeks from when they first appear in Spring.
Towards the end of the season, allow some spears to grow into fern. This is very important as this allows the crowns to regenerate for tastly meals in the coming seasons. When the furn turns yellow and dry, they can be cut to ground level.