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Tom and Barbara

Vegetable Jotter and asparagus!

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Does anyone remember the Vegetable Jotter that Hessayon brought out in 1989??? it was only out for a year and it was based on The Vegetable Expert but had space for writing what you'd planted when, diagrams of your bed etc. It was replaced by the Vegetable and Herb Expert, but doesn't have any space for writing in - does anyone know of anything similar that's around these days? Or am I gonna have to get creative with my old copy and a computer??


Oh and anyone had any luck with asparagus? thinking of giving it a whirl for the first time this year.

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I asked the waiter for asparagus and he said 'We don't serve sparrows and my name isn't Gus'. The old ones are not the best, after all. :?


I can't help with the jotter, but Asparagus is something I have been growing for a few years now. It is easier than many make out, it is mostly down to preparation of the soil and commitment to the placement of the plants - once in, they are not meant to be ever moved again and will produce year after year.


Get some good quality plants, often sold virtually dry, and give them a bit of a soak while you prepare the bed for them. Dig a trench about a foot deep, pile in some good compost and feed, and pile it up in the middle of the trench so that each plant can sit on the top with it's roots each side. Add more compost, then some top soil. Water in well.


Now the tricky bit - be patient. :( You have to let the plants settle in for the first year, you might not see any growth at all. Then in the second year you should get some spears poking through - but don't get excited as this is the year that the plants will get really established - let them grow high (they get about a metre high at least) into tall wispy fern like branches, then in Autumn cut them back just below the soil.


In the third year, when they start to show again (this time of the year - April) you can cut some when the spears are about 6 inches high :P ! Keep cutting the spears for about 4 weeks, slicing with a sharp knife just below the soil. New spears will keep coming through to replace them.


After 4 weeks, stop cutting them and let them grow again so the plants can enjoy some sun and gather their strength for the next year - each year you get more and more. The biggest effort is not doing anything in those first couple of years, just giving the fern like spears some support in the wind. But it is really worth it once the plants start to really produce the goods.


They do take up quite a lot of room for a limited supply - but sooooo much better than the supermarket rubbish and better as a treat for one month a year. I cook mine in an asparagus cooker (get me! :roll: ) which is perfect, but they are fine steamed too or tossed raw in a salad - you can't do that with the supermarket ones are they are too tough!!


Good luck !!!! :wink:

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Well - I can't add anything to that excellent advice :D


I'm just about to start again - for the third time - because we have moved house.


The first lot we had was ruined by a mole - the second lot are now three years old, but at our old house :(

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