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(Asparagus) spear of destiny

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April 20th
I love the way that nature has of reminding you exactly who is in charge. This morning was a beautiful morning as I got up. The sun was shining, in fact it was streaming in through the windows, the dawn chorus was well on it’s way and everything seemed good. I walked to the car only to discover the frost on the windscreen. It was almost as if nature was letting me know that it was still only April and Summer is a long way off. Even so it’s very easy to sit here at work and either wish your life away or wish you were outside. Sigh!

So today was a lovely day, even in Leeds it was pleasant (and being someone that feels far more comfortable in the wild outdoors I don’t say that very often). Nice, but I can’t wait to get home and get a needle to remove the splinters I managed to get yesterday in pulling up a few thistles and the pallets that are only now starting to make themselves felt.

Gardening wise it’s been a quiet evening (I got most of what I wanted done yesterday). Apart from some light weeding and a lot of watering there really wasn’t much to do on the allotment. So after doing that I made my way home and moved into the other greenhouse. The warm weather means that everything is nice and happy and coming up lovely, but they are all thirsty. I potted some salad leaves we have on into bigger pots to give them room to grow.

One thing I forgot from yesterday. My neighbour has a plot a few along from me. I bumped into him as I was taking my potatoes to the plot for planting yesterday morning. He asked me if I wanted some free chilli seeds as he never grows them and had been given them. I told him I already had 49 chilli plants growing but I’d keep them till next year, so we make a start on next years growing already!

My neighbour is a very nice man. He used to be the secretary for my allotment site on the allotment association. When we were buying our house I asked the lady selling the house about allotments and she mentioned it to my neighbour (to be). So on the day we collected the keys we went round to introduce ourselves and after about 10 minutes he said ‘I hear you want an allotment, we’ve got one going that you can have’. The rest, as they say, is history. Before I hear the outraged screams of favouritism or queue jumping, I will point out that at that point in time there was no queue for that site, in fact it had 2 empty plots after I took mine over. This was about the same time that becoming an allotment gardener was becoming trendy, becoming good for you and before the move to connect with where your food came from. I’ve always been a trend setter.

But now I have a question. Does anyone know how thick should the spears be on an asparagus plant in the second year ? All the ones coming up at the moment are very thin, perhaps 2 or 3 mm across (about an eighth of an inch). I know that asparagus should take a few years to bed in, but what should I expect? And now they are up do I leave them or cut them ?

They look like this (next to a tent peg for some sort off scale)

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Oooh yes, the sun is shining here in Norwich, but the wind is still very cold, a sure reminder!!

Don't worry Eric, we wouldn't accuse you of being favoured, we know you're a trend setter! You're one of the few original "Barbara and Tom" from the "Good life" sort! (a compliment of course!) Just not so nutty! Lol! (I don't think it's trendy to keep pigs anymore, lol! The chickens are enough!)

Your asparagus does look slim, doesn't it? The G.W. mag from April says: Growing asparagus from seed takes longer to get a decent crop. Sow the seeds thinly in 7.5cm pots and cover with 5mm of compost or vermiculite. Germination should take about 3 weeks. Prepare the ground where you will grow the plants by removing weeds and adding plenty of organic matter. Then plant the young crowns in June. Avoid harvesting the spears for 3 years. They'll develop into feathery fronds, which will photosynthesise and return energy to the crown and roots. This will ensure a heavier crop of spears for years to come.

21 Apr, 2009

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