Asparagus tips for a guaranteed feast
Could you tell me the best way to prepare my asparagus beds for spring? Malcolm, Bucks
December is actually a good time to prepare asparagus for the following season. Cut back dried fern stalks, remove weeds, and incorporate lots of well-rotted manure into the soil. Finish by applying a thick organic mulch to protect plants from frost and add nutrients into the soil. trunk when you get it home and stand it in water before bringing it indoors.
If the trunk dries up when it is being transported and sold, it seals. Cutting it exposes live tissue that can better take up water. The more water the tree drinks, the longer it will hold its needles.
As with cut flowers, trimming the trunk helps the tree hydrate more readily.
Put your tree in a cooler spot in the house away from radiators and open fires to help it retain water and stay healthier for longer.
If you’ve got an existing tree in a pot, use a cool porch or garage to acclimatise it before bringing it in and, then again, before putting it out after Christmas. Otherwise the shock of the temperature changing suddenly can damage or kill it.
If you are buying a live tree, beware container-grown varieties that have had their roots in that pot for a long time. Check the roots are not wrapped tight around the bottom of the pot or knotted.
Containerised trees that have been grown in the ground, dug up and
stuck in a pot can also struggle long term. Because of the stress, there is a risk they won’t survive replanting afterwards.
If you are choosing a cut tree, it is great to know a little bit about the varieties on offer and how to get the best out of them when they are up.
There are three main types of tree you are likely to see on sale – Norway spruce (Picea abies), Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana), and the blue spruce (Picea pungens).
The Norway spruce is the traditional tree for British homes.
It is the one Prince Albert put up in