Sunday, 17 February 2008

take that, asparagus beetle!

Asparagus is one of the best and easiest vegetables to grow in the garden. Soooo tasty!

The plants are usually bought as 'crowns' and planted into well-prepared and fertilised soil in a bed that may continue to crop for twenty years.
From spring onwards, the emerging spikes are cut off as they reach four or five inches long. They are cut at just below ground level. The cutting season ends on midsummers day, when the spikes are allowed to grow into elegant ferns.

The only problem that you are likely to find is with asparagus beetle. It's a stripy little pest and quite clever. If it knows you're watching it will hide around the other side of the stem.

They have to be killed because they can affect the crown below ground as well as foliage. Killing during the growing season is by picking them off and crushing them. Not most sane folks idea of a fun pastime - but necessary.

When the ferns become dormant in the autumn they should be cut off and burned. Mulch around the crowns should also be disposed of so that any overwintering eggs, larvae or adults can be exposed and eradicated by birds.

The ferns, unlike most organic waste produced in the garden, cannot be composted or used as a mulch because of the hidden pests that might be lurking.

The only answer is a satisfying fire: I'll have some of that!

Take that, asparagus beetle!

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