NZ Gardener - Garden Diary 2018 - - Plant Now -

If you want to start an as­para­gus bed, now is the time to start build­ing up the soil. Dig in loads of well-rot­ted ma­nure, sea­weed or blood and bone, com­post and pea straw. Let it break down un­til plant­ing time in spring. Lay down mulch as well to sup­press weeds. You can buy dor­mant two-year-old as­para­gus crowns dur­ing win­ter, but the best time for plant­ing in the gar­den is when the soil tem­per­a­ture reaches 12°C – around early spring. In­stead, bed these crowns into a tray of pot­ting mix to save risk­ing them rot­ting in the wet, cold win­ter soil and plant once con­di­tions are more suit­able. Crowns are fairly ex­pen­sive but they will save you sev­eral years of wait­ing un­til you can har­vest, which is their ad­van­tage over seed-sown plants. How­ever, if you’re patient and have the time, as­para­gus grown from seed can pro­vide many more plants for a frac­tion of the cost. As­para­gus is slow to es­tab­lish, but once it has, a well-nour­ished bed will keep you in ten­der spring spears for at least 20 years.

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