Good enough to eat
THIS is the month for asparagus, a seasonal favourite often offered as a simple but delicious starter, served hot with melted butter or cold with mayonnaise.
Its season is short - May and the beginning of June - and those who buy it out of season will be disappointed at the lack of flavour.
You’ll need to prepare the soil well beforehand when growing asparagus. It needs to be free draining and well weeded.
If your soil is heavy, add masses of grit in the base of your beds and rotavate it in, raking the surface to make it smooth. Plant asparagus crowns (young plants) at the end of March in a sheltered, sunny spot.
Leave it until April if the soil is cold and wet, digging trenches around 1m apart. To ensure a longer harvest, plant an early variety such as Connover’s Colossalalong with a later variety, such as Martha Washington.
You should not harvest the spears which appear shortly after planting.
Cutting can begin properly in the second year, when the spears reach 10-15cm, and can be cut around 8cm below the soil surface with a special asparagus knife.
Never let them grow too tall or they become lanky and woody.