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Put your asparagus to bed

10 June 2014
Put your asparagus to bed

Put your asparagus to bed ahead of a long summer's rest and recuperation as a big thank-you for all the hard work it's put in to producing delicious, tender shoots all spring.

Asparagus is among the most coveted plants in the veg garden for its subtly-flavoured, much prized young shoots and its longevity - patches stay productive for 20 years. Plant in autumn or spring, choosing a sunny spot in well-drained soil. One-year-old crowns give the plants a head start (we'll have these in stock from autumn onwards). Leave them a couple of years to establish before picking.

Once they've given you their all, though, asparagus plants need to build up strength for the rest of the season so they can produce another bumper harvest next year. Stop cutting them about now and let the stems grow to full height. Give the bed a good weed through, water and mulch with compost.

In late summer if the tall, ferny stems produce berries, pick them off so they don't self-seed and infest your patch with rogue seedlings. While you're at it, inspect your plants for asparagus beetles: with their distinctive red, cream and dark grey colouring they're not difficult to spot, so pick them off straight away.