Tamsin Constable

Asparagus investment

I’ve just ordered another 10 asparagus crowns (Gijnlim variety – for no other reason than the catalogue copy describes it as a ‘high yielding male with a closed purple tip’. What can I say?)

I’ll plant the crowns in March. But I’ll have to wait three years – until the summer of 2012 – before I can eat them. Some people think that’s crazy, but it’s fine by me. Tempus fugit and all that. I planted the first 10 crowns last year, to see how they’d get on here in Yorkshire. The crowns, by the way, look and feel gross – a cross between dead babies’ fingers and witches’ hair.

Last summer, I could only watch with pride as two or three measly little spears poked up through the soil, hogging space. And that was that. This summer, I’ll be able to crop sparingly – just the odd spear or two. But it’s not until year 3, ie 2011, that I will be able to start cropping properly.

And then – well, as they say round here, we’ll be ‘cooking on gas’. I will be able to sit back and feast on the stuff, either steamed, hot and dripping with butter or (poshly) cold, with fingers, and dipped into vinaigrette, for the next 15-20 years. No crop rotation, no digging, minimum weeding – now, that’s my kind of vegetable growing. And so what if we move house? I find the idea of someone else eating my asparagus quite rewarding. And surely it’ll add value (that magical phrase). Central heating, double glazing and free asparagus for the next 20 years… how’s that for a property description?

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