The Dyas family have lived and farmed at Sevenscore since 1966.
Sevenscore is situated at the base of the Isle of Thanet in East Kent. Looking West across the marshes and fields of Kent lies the cathedral city of Canterbury while to the East is the sea at Pegwell Bay and the towns of Ramsgate and Broadstairs.
We first tried growing asparagus in the family kitchen garden and discovered to our delight that it not only seemed to thrive, but the deep brick earth soil seemed to impart it with a fantastic intense flavour. Therefore in the spring of 2005 we hand planted 7 acres of asparagus and our first harvest was in 2007.
The cutting season normally starts in April and runs through to late June. The asparagus is cut by hand early each day to ensure it is fresh and at its best. It is immediately brought in from the fields to be chilled. The spears are then carefully washed, graded and prepared for sale. By preparing and chilling our asparagus quickly, its quality and freshness is ensured. Local residents can purchase the spears from our asparagus shop. We also supply Farm Shops and Restaurants across Kent while some goes daily to London eateries and hotels such as The Goring.
Once cutting has finished the asparagus is allowed to grow to its mature height (approximately 6ft). The plant is then referred to as asparagus fern, with branches of soft green needles. Growing asparagus is all about attention to detail. To produce fantastic spears in Spring the crop must be looked after in minute detail during the rest of the year. Therefore foliar feeds and micro nutrients are applied every two weeks in Summer to keep a lush green canopy of needles to promote maximum photosynthesis. The carbohydrates produced from this are stored in the root system and power the growth of crop in the following season. Therefore keeping the asparagus fern in top condition is essential, it also makes it less susceptible to disease. This ability to work with nature also encourages beneficial insects which eat problem pests. Ladybirds remove aphids while predatory wasps and spiders ensnare asparagus beetles preventing damage to the fern.
The fern turns yellow in late Autumn taking all remaining sugars back from the needles into the roots (senescence). The plant remains dormant during the Winter, at which time the dead fern is cut and pulverised by machine. In the Spring the earth beds that contain the asparagus crowns are cultivated to remove old plant debris and replace a depth of soil over the buds. This additional soil promotes thicker spears with premium tight tips. The rising temperature warms the asparagus beds and once the soil around the crown reaches the required temperature it triggers the dormant buds to grow. The asparagus spears break through the soil surface and another asparagus season starts.