Spring is in the air - Asparagus

Darn, darn, darn! – this is the publishable version of what’s running through my mind as signs of Spring pop out everywhere to warn the gardener that burgeoning new life waits on no laggard’s schedule…

So here stands the asparagus plot, with all the old dead fronds still standing about from last autumn – these should have been cut down months ago and compost added to feed the new growth underground.

Dried asparagus ferns; these green fronds appear once the asparagus harvest is finished, and feed next years crop. They dry off in autumn, and are normally removed to allow the new crop to come through and to prevent disease over-wintering here.

I like asparagus; once a good plot is established, it looks after itself for twenty years or so, and fills the cook with joy each Spring as we harvest the nutritious shoots of these edible ferns. I don’t actually water it very often, and it just plods along producing a brief burst of nutritious food year after year.

I should be more grateful, I expect – after all, it gives me my once-a-year chance to get out the antique scythe I keep in the shed, simply because I’ve always wanted one. A few swings, and the old ferns are down and out of the way, and the scythe goes back to the shed for another year.

A few sweeps with my trusty scythe, and the old fronds are gone to make way for the new. Sure, I could  just pull the old stuff out, but I like tools that don't need petrol, so I own a scythe.

And sure enough, I’ve mown down a dozen good asparagus spears, which I will contritely hand to the cook to drop into tonight’s supper or put straight back into the compost bin to feed some future crop.

Asparagus spears emerge in early Spring; we keep cutting them at ground level while they remain flexible and we haven't gotten sick of eating them. Ah well, at least the chooks will be happy – I’ve moved a year’s worth of compost from one of our four Geyde bins onto this accessible bed, and this is alive with worms; the chooks will turn the whole lot over and plough it in without doing any damage to the sturdy asparagus shoots. One less job for an over-run gardener to do…

This Geyde bin swallows household scraps for more than a year, then produces rich brown compost alive with worms. Recycling organic kitchen wastes in this fashion helps to replenish our soils. One can see this small heap of compost on the ground to the right of the green bin.

2 comments:

HAZEL said...

it is still too cold here for asparagus. I have seen other bloggers waxing lyrical about the first shoots. It seems everything is about a month behind here. But...I will go out and put some compost on the beds.

Cottage Tails said...

i have yet to plant an asparagus plot - on the list!
Love Leanne

Post a Comment