Archive for April, 2013

How to plant asparagus crowns

At the risk of sounding like an insufferable egomaniac, I’m always stunned by the performance of my ‘how to plant asparagus’ video. It gets hundreds of plays every weekend, especially at this time of year – from which I infer that there are a lot of folks out there wanting to know how to do it right.

If you’re one of them, this video aims to help. I’m embedding it here again for punters arriving from search engines wanting to know how to do it:


A guide to planting asparagus from Soilman on Vimeo.

Posted on 28th April 2013
Under: Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Why average ≠ normal

OnionsWell, everything’s about a month behind. These onions would normally have gone in mid-March. By now, they’d be at least a foot high and the bulbs would be starting to swell.

Obviously this year that’s a way ahead. Not a single potato has shown a leaf above ground yet. Five years ago, I harvested my first potatoes on May 21.

I’ve not even sown any root vegetables yet. No point: Soil is still too cold. I may risk sowing some carrots tomorrow, but I’m not optimistic they will work. What a helluva winter it’s been.

The marvellous thing about being a gardener is that every year is different. Every year you see things you’ve not witnessed before. This is undoubtedly the latest spring I’ve ever seen, but records are there to be broken: £1,000 says I’ll see a colder and later one before I die.

Being a gardener also helps you understand the concept of ‘average’. You see with your own eyes, every year, that the seasons are wildly different. So many folks think ‘average’ means ‘normal’. There is no such thing as ‘normal’. There are only anomalies – sometimes extreme ones – that cancel each other out into a mean when you do the maths.

This year, we’re merely seeing the kind of weather that stops my May 21 potato harvest being ‘normal’.

Posted on 27th April 2013
Under: Winter | 2 Comments »

The sun is out. The matrix has reloaded.

Incredibly, there is sunshine today. At 12C, it’s not exactly the Sahara… but it sure feels like it after the winter we’ve endured.

I went to the plot. I planted onion sets, cleared the asparagus bed and spread manure. It felt good.

Why can’t I live in Italy? 12C is about as bad as it gets in, say, Sicily. I could grow melons, lemons and oranges – and peaches and nectarines. Bloody marvellous.

Instead, I’m living in this shithole. Buggeration.

Posted on 7th April 2013
Under: Winter | 5 Comments »