Invest in asparagus

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If ever a saying was made for something, it would have to be asparagus and 'good things take time'.

In my mind, there's no doubt asparagus fall into the category of a good thing. And they certainly take time! Plant asparagus now and you won't even know for a few years whether they're going to produce a good crop. But if you get it right, you'll be rewarded with fresh, tasty asparagus for years to come.

If you know you're going to be at your property for at least several (but hopefully more) years and you've got the space to dedicate an area for growing, then plant your asparagus now. The quicker you get them into the ground the sooner you'll be able to reap the rewards.

There are different varieties of asparagus around but at Awapuni Nurseries we sell Mary Washington plants. This is one of the more common and popular varieties. It's an heirloom plant and great for the garden because it's extremely hardy and produces tender, thick and straight spears - and lots of them!

For the average family you'll need to plant no less than 10 asparagus - probably more like 15. Our bundles each have nine plants in them so we recommend buying two for plot that will feed a family. You can grab your Mary Washington asparagus plants from our online shop and have them delivered direct to your door. Or check out the Awapuni Nurseries seedling stand next time you're at your local Bunnings, the Warehouse or supermarket.

Now to work out where to plant. Every plant should be grown about 40cm apart from the next. So for around 15 plants you'll need space of about 1.5-2m x 1.5-2m - depending on how you decide to plot out your garden. They're quite a messy plant (with all their fern like fronds) so it's often better to plant in a couple of rows than just one).

Ideally you want to plant in a patch of soil that is more alkaline than acid and in full sun. It's also very important that the soil is well-draining otherwise in winter the crowns of your plants will rot. I strongly recommend digging in a whole lot of compost and manure as deep as you possibly can before you start planting. Lastly, make sure there are no weeds anywhere. I keep harping on about the time it takes to harvest your first crop but I really can't stress how important it is to get the basics (like your soil condition) right before you plant something that is going to take so long to appear.

Dig a little hole and place each plant around 40cm apart from the next. Cover the roots with soil and keep the plants well watered.

Now comes the test of your patience. To ensure your asparagus bed produces good quality spears for years to come it's vital you allow the plants to develop well during the first three years. Each year they will die back in winter and send up new shoots in spring. These are the spears you can start harvesting in the fourth year hopefully for many years to come!

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