Asparagus bed update

To give adage to the whole “if a jobs worth doing it’s worth doing properly” school of thought, let me tell you about the asparagus bed. Well firstly the bed was a raised area full of rocks and stones and weeds, must have been some sort of rockery in the past. I got carried away on ebay and ordered some asparagus at they had only 30 seconds left and were going for a good price. Unfortunately when they arrived it was a really busy period, I’d not had chance to prepare the bed properly. And on the day they arrived a friend showed up, who was staying at mine and we had a 3 day conference we were all working at. So the crowns had to go in there and then.

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The bed in the foreground, before it had asparagus in it.

Luckily the friend was into gardening, so Lucia, Simon and I set too at weeding the bed and removing as many stones and rocks as we could. It was early march so it got dark early and was dark when we were finishing off. We put sticks to mark were the asparagus went and a bit of straw to keep the weeds at bay.

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The asparagus bed is behind the tree, to the right of the path.

Anyway not many of the asparagus came through, 2 actually went in upside down, which I’ve since put right and strangely they are are the ones that are growing. Also as the rocks were still around the edge of the bed, it somehow meant mud fell through them onto the path when it rains, also the weeds were able to grow in amongst the rocks, and were hard to pull out. Also some people stepped on it, as they didn’t realise it was a bed. So all in all it wasn’t much of a success.

Laying the path,

Laying the path,

So I decided to take the rocks out and make it into a raised brick bed. Much like the other one I made before here. First I laid the rest of the path leading to the main allotment area. I added in a small bed between the path and the back of the fruit corner. I dug over this small bed and added straw, fresh grass and compost. I decided the path was a bit narrow for a wheelbarrow, so I added a few bits of paving to widen it near the raised bed.

Digging over and adding grass and straw to small bed.

Digging over and adding grass and straw to small bed.

To make the brick raised bed, I dug a trench and put the bricks in on their end, so one side was pressed against the paving slab. The other side I back filled with soil from the bed and pressed it down. I later back filled it the height of the brick, but to get it to stand up, and inch or so seemed enough. I carefully carried on edging the bed with bricks, removing and stones or rocks as I went. This took me the best part of 2 days to do. There was various stones and slabs hidden under the earth, and I also weeded as I went. The far side was the hardest, as there wasn’t really a path and young sweetcorn plants are planted quite close to the edge of bed.

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The bricks were all left by the previous owner in a big pile, glad to have almost used them up now! The paving slabs that I dug up, have now been reused as a path down the far side of the bed. It’s very narrow and a bit like using a type rope, but at least it gives access to the area.

First part finished, note the rocks on the side of the bed!

First part finished, note the rocks on the side of the bed!

Once I had tidied up the area, it was time to fill the bed back up. The middle section where the asparagus still (hopefully) is was still high and then the edges tapered off towards the bricks. I carefully tried to loosen the middle section, avoiding the sticks which mark out where the asparagus should be. Then I sieved the compost to add it into the bed and level it all off. As I put some soil over the middle it still tapers a bit, which should help the drainage.

Before tidying the path and filling up the bed, I weeded the bed and loosened the soil.

Before tidying the path and filling up the bed, I weeded the bed and loosened the soil.

As the bricks go right up to the path, it’s actually created a bigger growing space, without taking up any extra space. With the extra space, I’ll add some salald plants this year. We seem a bit behind on the salad plants this year, so desperately trying to get some going! This project took a few days to do, but very happy with the results and I do wish we did it properly the first time round. There may still be a few large stones in there, but I don’t want to disturb the asparagus any more than I may have done already.

The bed ready to be filled.

The bed ready to be filled.

Elsewhere in the garden I’ve been adding in a few plants, some grown from seed and some I’ve bought in shops. I’m hoping not to always have to buy things from shops, but as we’re trying to get everything established this year, it means we’re a bit behind on the seed sowing. In the picture above check out the chimney sweep wig wam!

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