The new vegetable plot is made up, largely, of heavy clay and I took the decision, early on in the preparations to prepare individual beds as needed. For the asparagus we decided to remove the first couple of inches (50mm) right across the 1200mm wide bed. Next we dug a trench, 600mm (2ft) wide,a long the middle of the bed about another 150mm (6") deep and then finally we dug the deepest part of the trench, again along the middle of the bed but this time going down about a further 300mm (1ft).
Using clumps of the hard clay, we then sat the asparagus crowns on individual islands about 100mm (4")above the manure and in-filled to the level of the crowns with a mixture of clay, sand and dry grass cuttings.
Next, we piled compost on the crowns to just below the finished level, again filling all around with a mixture of clay, sand and dry grass.
In the trench we planted 11 green asparagus (Verte Grande) and 11 white asparagus (Argenteuil).
It was nice to actually get a vegetable growing in the ground at last. The preparation of the land has only just begun as we are preparing the beds as required. I have marked out all the new bed positions and, of course, had already planted a redcurrant bush in the berries bed. But this was the first vegetable to go in.
Next I prepared two beds for potatoes. Here I just mixed sand and dry grass cuttings into the clay to a depth of about 200mm (8"). I shall now leave these two beds exposed to our frosts for a few weeks until I am ready to plant the potatoes, when I shall loosen the soil once again.
In each corner of the whole vegetable plot, I have constructed a quadrant shaped bed. Today, Kate and I prepared the first of these quadrant beds and planted a bay tree in it. We also planted about 6 small evergreen trees in this bed which I want to hold for a year or so, until another part of the garden is ready for them.