Well, it’s the last day of National Gardening Week, and I hope you’ve been enjoying the vicarious harvests from my garden! I have enjoyed really focusing on what’s in season, and what we should be (and are!) harvesting and eating. It’s easy for me to forget that this garden is still very young, and it’s still maturing and I am still learning its quirks.

I have saved the best harvest for last – asparagus! I have devoted two of my 12 raised beds to asparagus, which sounds a bit extravagant for a vegetable that’s only in season for about 6 weeks (late April to midsummer). Especially since new beds take several years to establish, before they can crop prolifically. But it’s soooooooooooooo worth it when you can nip outside and harvest your own spears, which we started doing sparingly last year.

Asparagus (right) and wild asparagus
Wild asparagus (L) and cultivated asparagus (R)

One of my beds is wild asparagus from Seeds of Italy, which came as crowns as required the bed to be properly trenched. It grows thinner and taller than cultivated asparagus, and can be a bit woodier and more bitter, but it’s still good.

This year it was a couple of weeks earlier than the cultivated asparagus, which didn’t spring into life until the nights really started to warm up. For a while there I was worried it wasn’t going to come…! One of our favourite things to do is cook asparagus on the barbecue, and we’re looking forward to doing that for years to come.

My cultivated asparagus started life as plants from Victoriana Nursery Gardens, which give you a bit of a head start and mean you don’t have to do the trenching. Both of my asparagus beds have a few gaps where plants didn’t make it (often due to cat interference, grrr!), so this year I have sowed some seeds – variety Martha Washington – in the hope that I will have my own plants to plug the gaps in due course.

Asparagus seedlings
Asparagus seedlings

Just because National Gardening Week ends today, doesn’t mean the gardening does! Stay tuned for more updates from the garden 🙂