Posted by: sweetpea | February 5, 2007

Asparagus bed is made.

I awoke on Saturday morning to yet another glorious day, looking out of my window I could see that there had been a frost overnight so there was probably no point rushing to get over to the plot.  OK, there would probably have been things I could do until the ground warmed up, but I know my hands wouldn’t enjoy the freezing cold, so instead I took it easy, popping outside every now and again to test whether the sun was doing it’s magic and warming up the air.  By 11am I was ready to head out to the plot, sandwiches, flask of hot peppermint tea, and a couple of hand warmers just in case, all packed in my pannier.

The mission for the day was to finish preparing the 2 beds I’d marked out for the asparagus I have waiting patiently to be planted, or at least I wish it was patiently waiting but instead it seems determined to grow, at least the cold nights are slowing it down a little!  Previously I’d been steadily working at digging over the designated area, I find that my back will only allow me to dig for a few hours before it starts to make me a little on the grumpy side, so it’s been a gradual process, but I think little and often is best anyway even without having to watch I don’t overtire my back (I have to say that it is almost completely better now, only notice it when I’ve being doing a lot of stuff involving standing up).

The area I have been working on has been covered with black plastic for the past 2 years, so apart from around the edges there hasn’t been a lot of weed removal to do.  I’d definitely recommend it as a means of clearing an area of weeds.  I’m still a little dubious as to whether the couch grass is really dead, so I removed any roots I found just to be on the safe side.  The main reason for the digging was that the soils was a little too compacted for my liking, having black plastic to walk over is as you might guess preferable to walking over a muddy path 🙂  By Saturday I’d figured that I had just a couple more rows of digging to do before I had enough space for the 2 beds.  Stopping now and again for a cup of tea and a sandwich, I quickly finished the digging.

I marked out the 2 beds, roughly 1m x 2m, and trod down the edges to create paths.  Next I needed to level them a little as my plot seems to slope ever so slightly.  This done, the next job was to dig out a trench about 8inches wide and 10inches deep down the centre of each bed, the dimensions seem to vary depending on which book you read, so in the end I went with the recommendations on the ‘seeds of italy’ packaging. Once I’d also broken up the bottom of the trenches I added a layer of horse manure, rotted down although I’m not sure how well, and tried to mix it in as well as I could.  On top of this I added some blood fish and bone, and finally a thin layer of soil so that the crowns won’t be sitting directly on the manure.

Asparagus bed

Next weekend I shall hopefully plant the crowns if the weather is suitable. 

I also planted a couple of Jerusalem artichokes someone sent me from A4A, I don’t know whether I like them yet, and as I’ve heard they can be hard to get rid of once you have them I thought I’d trial them in a container this year before deciding whether to plant them in the ground as a permanent crop.

By around 4pm I was starting to tidy up ready to head home, and it was amazing how quickly it got freezing once the sun had almost set,  my foingers were quite painful by the time I got home despite having gloves on! 

I have to mention that on Sunday I finally managed to roast a parsnip to perfection.  So far I always seem to over cook them so that they end up dry, but I somehow got it right on Sunday and had lovely soft and sweet roast parsnips with mash, purple sprouting and duck…Mmmmmm 🙂



  1. Looks like “the job’s a good’un”…should be a really good start for your sparrow grass.

    Your soil seems very light and friable for the time of year. Must be due to being protected by the plastic I guess

  2. Yes, I’m very lucky, I have really good soil, or at least very easy to work soil. I suspect it could do with a larger input of organic matter. The beds hadn’t been covered for a couple of weeks, but prior to that I guess the covering had prevented the soil getting too wet and therefore more likely to freeze solid!
    Think I’ve got them dug over just in time as it’s got much colder now.

  3. […] relationship of the journals to the letters, compare with Letter LIV inProject Guttenberg edition.Here’s someone else who is ‘digging, trenching, and earthing’ an asparagus […]

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