Of course, all this symbolism is just talk. In the end, you've got to stick the plants in the ground. So I have. The bed was enriched with kitchen scraps and horse manure and left to sit for a while, and then mixed in with compost from one of our black bins. I dug trenches and spaced the crowns apart in a very responsible manner. I back filled and put some lucerne on top. This breaks my only green manure rule but all the books say lucerne and as a novice I don't have enough confidence to stray from written authority. We've run out of horse manure and so we'll saddle up and collect some more next weekend. I'll put another lot on then, just to make sure the plants feel welcome in their new home.
On less prosaic matters, the crowns look an awful lot like dessicated old witches to me. I could hear them cackling as I put them to bed. Let's hope they're not cursing my hopes for a big harvest in three years time.
The asparagus crowns nicely match the weed tea I'm stewing nearby. It looks poisonous and I feel a bit like a witch myself as I stir it slowly, the 'hubble bubble' bit from Macbeth running through my head in a loop. I'm sure the brew will do the world of good to my struggling spinach, which looks just too tired to see the winter through. All the best health tonics look like they could kill an elephant and as the cabbage isn't quite ready to be picked I'm desperate enough for greens to give this a go.
Of course, there wasn't not much toil or trouble this afternoon, just a lot of faith, hope and sunshine. It's a joy digging in compost I've made myself, unable to see the constituent scrap components - how does that process work? - with some new wagtail birds flitting about, and the chooks gentling puck, puck, pucking in their dirt baths. Nice work if you can get it, and I'm lucky that I can.