Thursday, 6 November 2008

A Nice Green Leaf: What insane roots

Witches_hair_asparagus_rootBy Emma Townshend

I am currently making my first asparagus beds; maybe that's what everybody does when they start pushing forty. However in my case it is considerably less elegant Monty Don and quite a lot more Tom and Barbara Good. I have managed to come home covered in mud from head to foot quite a few times lately.

My allotment is on the one bit of really clay soil in the area, indicating there used to be a stream running down the middle of it, and I'm having to carry bags and bags of sand down to lighten the soil up a bit as well as the usual manure and other organic soil conditioners. 

However it was only when I came to get the roots out the plastic bag they arrived in (a record one HOUR after they arrived in the post! Pat me on the back!) that I realised how funny-looking they are. You have to spread them out until they look like either a weird slightly octopus, or some sort of witchy hair. And they feel really fleshy and alive too, springing back to where they want to be, rather than where you want to plant them, with an apparent will of their own. Eurgh. 

Anyway the witchy hair is now almost all put to bed, hopefully never to be seen again except in the form of nice green fronds next summer. It's not even the scariest looking plant I've seen this week; check out Botany Photo of the Day's Dracula simia. He's the count who loves to count. 

Still, at least I haven't got a problem with over-flying real witches.

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