Asparagus in clay

4 Mar

Bed of clay

My garden bed along the front of the house (where I planted the green manure) has lots of clay. You only need to dig 6 inches before you hit it, and I haven’t yet managed to dig through it. I guess the pragmatic solution to this problem is to avoid planting root crops in the bed, but the easterly edge of the bed is really sunny, and otherwise perfect for asparagus.

I have three different varieties of asparagus growing. I bought an established purple asparagus plant from The Diggers Club and seeds for standard green hybrid asparagus and a variety called “Fat Bastard”. I’ve been raising the seeds in my greenhouse, and they are amazing. The tiny first shoot that emerges looks like a perfect, tiny asparagus spear – so cute!

Lime on the clay

So, determined not to let common wisdom or gardening convention get in my way, P and I started preparing the clay pit for my asparagus.  We started by digging the clay out of the hole, then we added some lime and broke the clay up a little bit.

In goes the cow manure

Then we added 25 litres of cow manure and mixed it around with the soil we had removed. After that was done, the soil wasn’t perfect, but it looks much better. I then planted my plant and little seedlings, mulched with lucerne, and watered in well. Am I stupid? Destined for failure? Should I rethink this before it’s too late?

Planted purple asparagus


Heavy Clay

3 Responses to “Asparagus in clay”

  1. Asydfoodie March 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    I planted some asparagus crowns last winter and the second batch took and were going great guns until they met an untimely death via whippersnipper. He mistook them for maidenhair fern. I have just replanted (and marked ever single plant). These are in clay as well, but I don’t need to dig down to find it, it is all throughout!

    • L March 5, 2011 at 7:53 am #

      Oh good – there is hope!

  2. jason June 29, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    there’s so much BS about Asparagus!! . Don’t panic I didn’t even dig a trench let alone manure. I dug a holes, 6 inches deep by 6 x 6 inches square about 18 inches apart and filled them in with general shop bought compo. I stuck a plant ( from seed same year) in and stamped some of the excavated clay back over the peat to stop water loss over each hole. They went dimlow crazy . I just chuck home made compost, hedge cuttings etc. over them each winter / late autumn / spring . My soil is super heavy grey sticky clay that’s why I couldn’t be assed to dig a trench . If you mess about with manure . lime and all the common BS and blah blah blah , it’ll be cheaper to buy them from the shop. My spears grow like mad. Plus I cut them hard in their second year and they never got hurt ( plants don’t have memories) please don’t believe all this gardening ‘ wisdom’ crap

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