A rhubarb and asparagus bed

Credit: Sheena Adams

Both plants are lovers of enriched, well-drained soil, so I heavily amended the soil with compost, leaf mould and fish compost. The next step was to plant the rhubarb 80 cm (2 1⁄2 ft.) apart down the centre of the bed. I then planted the perimeter of the entire bed with the asparagus (Jersey Giant and Purple Passion), spacing the crowned roots 15 cm (6 in.) apart. It turned out beautifully: the asparagus filled in the edges and the rhubarb prospered in the middle, offering shade to the asparagus and thus keeping it tender and sweet. I fertilized every two weeks with a liquid fish fertilizer.

I harvested the rhubarb all summer, pulling out the stalks as they were produced. (Remember to discard the leaves, which are poisonous. Yes, you can compost them!)

Since it was the first year for the asparagus I allowed it to grow tall and ferny, then at the end of summer simply cut it back. I am looking forward to finding chubby little purple and green stalks under the leaves of my rhubarb next season.