Home grown asparagus spear soldiers!!
Ahh home grown fresh asparagus! They taste so much better than what you buy in the supermarket and we are not just saying that, they are sweeter, juicier and have a much stronger flavour. Though neither Sherrie nor I have ever used an asparagus spear as a soldier substitute when dipping into boiled eggs, what were we missing!? They were absolutely yummy, though after a great debate whilst devouring our prey, we decided the next set of spears (ready in a week or two) will get the hollandaise treatment!
Unless of course we come across any other recipes that look even more tantalising!
So are they worth growing?
We would have to say yes, admittedly this is the first time we have eaten our own home-grown asparagus, we have been waiting 3 years until the crowns mature enough to be harvested and unfortunately we only have two plants (at the moment). You can buy mature plants and moving forward, it is tempting to quicken the process for a greater yield without the wait, but obviously they do cost a little more. The great news is that they will continue providing spears for up to 20 years!! So they are well worth the investment in the long haul.
Is patience a virtue? This sounds far too long
Asparagus spears ready for combat!
Yes, now we have finally managed to eat them it was worth the wait, but each year we were been tempted to pick them, however, we managed to stay true to the instructions and hold off the annual pillage! There is nothing to stop you eating them before the first 3 years, but it does mean that the amount of spears that grow in the following years will be thin, spindly and the yield will be drastically reduced, as they need time to mature their crowns.
Depending on the price, we are considering investing in a couple of mature crowns so that we have even more next year. As now we have tasted home-grown asparagus, we are not sure we can wait another 2-3 years LOL.
On average it’s around £10 for 3 crowns and upto £20 for 12 crowns, depending on the varieties available. There is a nice selection available at Dobies website.
Two crowns and that’s all you had to eat?
Many more spears popping up
No no, we only picked a few spears, there are plenty more spears coming up at the moment and we expect to get quite a few more this season. Though they never all come at once, well enough for meal and you don’t want them losing their fresh flavour sat in the fridge for a week. What’s left in the photo is what is still growing, plus there are more about to erupt from the soil that cannot be easily seen in the picture.
They should continue to produce spears until mid June, then they should be left to build up their energy for next year.
Are they easy to grow in a small urban garden?
We would say yes, the only tricky bit is setting up the trench as they like good drainage channels. In short you basically dig a trench around a foot deep, create a mound or ridge in the middle that the crowns sit on and you dangle their roots into the channels either side. Fill the hole up with soil, soak well and that’s it really, no other maintenance required except at the end of the season each year, cut the stalks off until maturity. Obviously it’s beneficial to feed them fertiliser or well-rotted farmyard manure annually. With a mature crown, once they are in the ground it’s just a case of eating them when they pop up.
From what we have seen, there are now available Asparagus patio planters to grow them in sturdy bags in small spaces, which looks very easy. We don’t know which method is superior, but would love to hear any of your experiences.
Can you go in more detail?
We are by no means experts on the subject but if anyone would like to more, we will happily share what we have learnt and can write up a post with what we did step by step, please let us know in the comments below. Or if you are a seasoned pro and we have overlooked anything we would also love to hear your thoughts and expand our knowledge on best practices.