Wednesday, 2 April 2014


Northern Scotland probably isn't the best place to grow asparagus but I've always promised my husband that I would try it.

My first experiment involved expensive crowns planted in late spring and carefully nurtured through the year, some reappeared the following spring but they were weak and failed shortly after.

I then heard about growing from seed and treating like a biennial. It was considerably cheaper to buy the seed and it germinated well. I potted up the seedlings regularly all last year and eventually planted 10 out in the narrow bed in the polytunnel after harvesting the sweetcorn. Now they are emerging and at least 9 have started with good thick shoots. Not quite as thick as my finger but they would out compete a pencil. I haven't harvested yet (it would be cruel not to wait for my husband to come back from working away!) and the shoots need to be at least a few inches tall, but it is looking very promising and these are only a year old.

The remaining seedlings have been left in their pots and have only sent up thin shoots. I am considering planting these into a separate bed and letting them grow on for next year.

Interestingly I also tried some in a large tub trug in the polytunnel and these started earlier than the ones in the ground, I think that was because the tub trug was warming up in the sun. They also have grown well and reasonably thick but not enough spears to make much of a dinner! I'll let them continue there and see how they do next spring. During the summer they can be put outside which means they won't take up valuable space, and that might be a suitable option for people who can't afford a permanent asparagus bed.

The only problem was some early slug damage with the first emerging shoots. I had to resort to slug pellets in the end but now they don't seem to be affected.

Looks like my promise has been kept in the end!

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