Saturday, August 7, 2010

asparagus, raspberries, and a lot of patience

I bought some raspberry canes and asparagus crowns today.  I love the names: 'crowns' and 'canes'.  Last September I launched into my 'in-ground' gardening with more ephemeral plants: lettuce, spinach, cauliflowers, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, rocket etc.  Yet one of the major benefits of having your own garden is that you can invest in long-term plants.  I posted recently about planting my fruit trees, which won't be fruitful for a couple of years.  I've also planted globe artichokes, blueberries, lemon and lime trees, and I was lucky enough to inherit some rhubarb from the previous owners, the only edible plants still in the vegie garden beds when I moved in.  However, I'm an asparagus addict, and I love raspberries (which are always disappointingly mouldy when you buy them in the shops), so I thought I'd invest in a couple more long term plants.

Like something out of Harry Potter: one of my soon-to-be-buried asparagus crowns

For an asparagus lover (particularly a gen-Y one), these plants are surely torturous as you can't eat them for at least 3 years after planting them, and it takes a further couple of years until you can eat them with vigour.  They're a similar plant to rhubarb in that respect.

Raspberries don't require so much of a wait, however, I don't think I'll be getting any fruit this season.  I bought the Chilliwack variety, which is not the most popular Tasmanian variety (Lloyd George), but is a popular commercial variety.  I haven't actually planted the canes yet (that's tomorrow's task), because I'm reconsidering where I should plant them.

I came to my raspberry variety decision after speaking to the peeps at Stoneman's Garden Centre in Glenorchy.  I'm a recent convert to their nursery.  They seem really knowledgeable, and they have a wide variety of stock, and the prices aren't bad.  Obviously, the seedlings aren't as cheap as the ones at K&D, but for things like fruit trees and asparagus, they're very good.  My other favourite place to buy seedlings and plants is the stall at Salamanca Markets, usually outside Salamanca Arts Centre (but I think they're on winter holiday at the moment).  Like many of the plant stall holders, they grow the plants themselves, and can give you excellent growing advice, and as a bonus, they're much cheaper than regular nurseries.  The only drawback is that you have to walk the entire length of the market to compare produce as Hobart City Council irritatingly doesn't bunch the produce stalls together.  The Hobart Farmers Market on Melville St on Sundays also has some good plant stalls.

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