January is here and I am getting rather excited about my asparagus crop.

This will be the first year I can pick it. The wait has been long, and now that my crop is in its third year I am already looking forward to the harvesting and tasting in May.

Asparagus growing has been a good test of how patient I can be and of all the crops I grow I will be saving money on this expensive veggie (it is my favourite).

I have already warned my friends that they will have to be especially nice to me if they want to taste the first of my crop. This is working to my advantage and I have managed to bribe a good guitarist and friend Alex Hall to play for me with payment being, asparagus harvested and cooked fresh from the patch.  Now that is one deal you can’t get in Tesco!

Living on the south coast close to the sea means that the crowns start to appear in March. With the weather so far being mild I have a feeling I will get early growth this year. Last frost for me is usually February, if there are no sudden glitches in the weather systems! But I will have horticultural fleece on standby to cover any shoots if a late frost is forecast.

This week I have added a layer of sterile compost to replenish the soil in the bed. You could use garden compost but this runs a higher risk of new weeds germinating.

It can’t be helped, but with asparagus needing a weed-free environment, buying a bag of compost, is the better option. In February I will be apply a mulch of wood chip to suppress weeds and protect the early shoots.

In early spring a general fertiliser, such as fish, blood and bone will help with strong growth. Because I have found that no mulch provides a completely weed free patch, checking daily for weeds around the crop is the best way to control.

Sometimes I can’t believe how growing something can make me feel so alive, the first crop cut on a warm spring day with live music, will be a special moment. That’s what gardening is all about for me: sharing my green space with friends and sharing the happiness!

What a great thought to have on these dark cold January days.