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Get asparagus beds ready14 February 2014
Get asparagus beds ready for the arrival of new asparagus crowns in the garden centre any minute now. Planting asparagus is a real investment in your veg garden, as they're perennial plants, coming back year after year for up to 20 years.
Choose from traditional heritage types like the prolific 'Connover's Colossal', or more modern varieties like 'Guelph Millennium', a later-maturing variety, or 'Gijnlim' which is more tolerant of heavy soils.
New asparagus crowns need to go in the ground as soon as possible, so prepare your asparagus bed well before you buy.
Weed the area thoroughly and dig in plenty of well-rotted manure, as asparagus are greedy feeders. They also like sharp drainage, so if your soil is on the heavy side add a barrowful of grit per square metre.
Then dig a trench around 30cm deep and wide and make a ridge along the bottom. Place your crowns so the roots dangle down either side of the ridge and fill in until they're just covered. Don't be tempted to pick them this year, or next: if you leave them to get their roots down well you'll be rewarded with basketfuls of sublimely tasty plump spears for years to come.