One of our favourite vegetables here at Tullamore Farm is Asparagus. We have quite a lot growing here and find them amazing compared to other vegetables. Why so special? They are perennial and once you have them established, they will crop yearly and live and produce (20) for twenty-plus years. That is a lot of fresh tasty vegetables over a long period of time without the work that most vegetables require.
Because they have such a long life it is best to select a spot where they can remain undisturbed. They do clump to a reasonable size when established. There are several ways to start them, including from seed. You can also start with seedlings or crowns. Crowns will get you an earlier result but will have a higher cost to purchase. Early spring is an ideal time to plant here in the Scenic Rim.
They like a rich soil and if you want lots of edible spears they need feeding. We fertilize ours in late August or early September and then again in November. We use either organic chicken manure pellets or our compost. We keep them well mulched to keep the moisture in and reduce the weeds. They are hardy with pests and diseases.
Now the hard part. No snacking for the first two or three years to allow them to really establish and get a great root base. I repeat, no harvesting during that time. If you keep cutting and eating it will take your plant a lot longer to establish. It is hard not to as the flavour from a freshly harvested Asparagus spear is most enjoyable.
Asparagus lie dormant in winter and we prune ours back close to the ground in very early June. The spears will start to emerge from the ground in late August or early September. The photo with this column was taken a few days ago. Bring on a big crop this Spring. Just love fresh asparagus eaten as soon as it is harvested. Ours rarely make it to the table.