Asparagus



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Planting asparagus is a sound investment as they thrust up tender spears that herald the start of a new gardening year and they increase their harvest for up to 20 years. The earliest of spring vegetables, nothing can beat the flavour of freshly cut asparagus straight from the garden.

 

Height

Harvest

Yield

1.5m x 30cm

2 years

12 spears/plant

 

Cultivation

Its extensive root system appreciates deeply dug soil enriched with plenty of manure and compost, add lime for a pH of 7 plus. Plant your asparagus so the crown is covered by about 5-7cm of soil and water well.

 

 

Asparagus is amazingly adaptable, thriving from cool climates to the subtropics. Male plants are preferred to female, as fruiting (reproduction), is always a drain on resources - as any parent knows! Identify female plants by their small red berries, and remove, as their spears will not be as vigorous.

 

 

A light cutting of spears in the second year for about 4 weeks will be followed (in time) by a harvest lasting up to 10 weeks. Always remove spears with a sharp knife cutting below the soil surface and cease harvesting when the spears become thinner than 1cm. Mulch asparagus generously to eliminate weed competition, and blanch the new spears.

 

 

Varieties

 

Mary Washington

The standard open-pollinated cultivar. Vigorous.

 

 

Purple

An Italian cultivar with royal-purple spears that will delight the eye and the palate.

 

Hybrids

Generally produce earlier in spring and are selected for all male plants.

 

 

Broad Beans “Vicia faba”



This high-protein, cool-season bean is an excellent soil improver, and can only be completely enjoyed when you grow your own and have the choice of harvest time. The delicious pods can be picked when small and tender and steamed whole, shelled when they are larger, or left to reach full maturity to be stored as dry beans to add to stews and soups.

 

Height

Harvest

Yield

1m x 20cm

60-120 days

1kg/metre

 

 

Cultivation

 

Broad beans can be planted from autumn to spring as long as they are sown so that flowering would have finished before the onset of20°Cdays.

Preferring slightly alkaline soil, the addition of some lime is useful in more acid soils.

 

 

Apart from that, broad beans are easily grown in any sunny spot.

 

 

Although they are prone to wind damage, they need a reasonable amount of air circulation to prevent fungal diseases. The best solution is to bang in stakes at the ends of the rows and tie string from stake to stake to support them. Pinch out 10cm off the top of the plant as the flowers are fading to help 'set' the pods.

 

Aquadulce

A dwarf variety less prone to wind damage that produces heavy crops from smart black and white flowers.  A real Seville long pod that can extend to 20cm long if you want them that big, or pick at 15cm for sweet and tender beans. 1m in height

 

 

 

 

 

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