Growing three great things to eat is the subject of this month’s Green Thumb. We are coming to the time of planting of asparagus and rhubarb and are just past planting time for garlic cloves, but it’s such a great crop to grow, maybe you can sneak a few into your vegie patch now and see how they go.
Rhubarb is not a crop I have grown a lot in the past, but a vigorous, productive rhubarb plant in my garden prompts me to suggest you consider planting some. Crowns planted in winter will give you the quickest, productive crop. I favour the red stem varieties such as Victoria and Sylvian Giant. Crowns should be planted 8-10cm deep in the soil and at least three quarters a meter from other plants as they are vigorous growers that will return year after year. You can lift and divide the plant roots when they are dormant in winter, after a few years. Fertilize in late winter and water regularly in summer.
Asparagus is another crop that can be grown from crowns planted at this time of year. Plant the crowns about 30cm apart and about 2cm deep. Shoots will emerge in spring which can be harvested, but it is best to let the first season’s growth grow and become fern like shoots of up to 1m high. This will strengthen the crowns to give a stronger, more productive crop of harvestable asparagus spears next season and over many subsequent years. Garlic has been an annual crop in my vegie patch for years. Divide the bulb into cloves and plant them 3cm deep and about 15cm apart in autumn to early winter.
They’re ready to harvest when the bulbs have fully developed and the leaves start to die back about Christmas time. I like the purple stripe variety but there is also one called Russian garlic that produces much bigger bulbs and cloves that are more mild flavour.
Millthorpe Garden Nursery