As­para­gus tips for a guar­an­teed feast

Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL -

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

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