Asparagus UC 157

newtoucanJanuary 10, 2013

Anyone have experience with growing Asparagus UC 157 in the Valley? I just bought some. This is the description of it, but we know some plants won't handle the heat and now the freezing cold in the winter:

Robust plant that is the standard for quality in the marketplace

"Farmer�s Favorite" - a hybrid of M120 & F109 (NOT Genetically Modified), developed at UC Riverside. Known for very high yield, useful variety that is suitable to growth in warmer areas with mild winters. Smooth green spears, tight tipped, non stringy. The plant has tall feathery, graceful stems. Plants may take up to 2 to 3 years to come to full production but can bear for 10 to 15 years.

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By "mild" winters they mean not the deep freezing Montana-like winters.

It needs less dormancy and winter chill than some varieties, but out wimpy freezes are not going to kill it.

It does need a deep, carefully prepared bed and a few years to reach full production. It's not for impatient gardeners.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 8:33AM
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Thanks for the info. How about our intense heat? I do have a 2 foot high raised bed. It's a large bed and was wondering if I need to put a divider in the because I hear it will take over everything.

Do you think the New Jersey varieties are better here being all male hybrid? UC variety dioecious.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:08AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

My research has stated (repeatedly) that your bed should run east/west facing. I've prepped a new bed and ordered New Jersey Knight from Gurney but they won't ship until late Feb. Where did you find the UC-157? I may try some just to get something started.

lazygardens, I've added several wheelbarrow loads of good garden soil that is a mix of Pioneer sandy loam and Singh Farms compost and garden soil. I bought it last year and am transitioning garden beds so have a bunch of dirt to relocate. I added lots of bunny poop, some Mykos and black strap molasses (I solarized this bed last summer trying to kill bermuda). How does that sound for bed prep? Anything else I should add? I plan to black strap it weekly until the ants come back. :-\ I had the Strapped product on-hand and wanted to use it up, it's an expensive product and was an impulse buy. :-/

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:19AM
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I'm intrigued, what is this Black Strap Molasses treatment do? Why do you want ants? I have some in our cupboard. Don't know if it's the same kind you eat.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 5:43PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Sorry toucan for waiting so long to answer your questions, I lost sight of this thread.

The molasses has to be unsulphured, not usually what you find in the pantry, and NO, I'm not trying to *attract* ants but using the soil enhancement while the ants are distracted by the cold so they will not be tempted to come in for a taste.

As I said above, I solarized that bed last summer and that will kill all the good bacteria as well as the bad weed seeds (hopefully anyway). But to put good bacteria back in the soil I'm enriching with the granular Mykos product from The Garden Guy ( I do not understand all this biology and science stuff too well, I just do what my research, conversations and dialogs with folks who know more about it than me suggest I do.

The black strap is said to 'stimulate the mycorrihizae' actitiy by attaracting 'beneficials' to the garden (soil). That's what 'they' say so that's what I'm doing.

Here's a link with some info, if you want to know more just Google 'blackstrap molasses for the garden'.

The one time I used it I diluted 4 TBLSN's in 2 cups of hot water until dissolved. Poured into a 2 gallon watering bucket and filled with tap water. Then soil drenched. Was planning to do this once a week until the supply is used up but am waiting for the cold snap to pass, simply because I'm too lazy to do much in the cold weather but make soup!!


This post was edited by marymcp on Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 14:47

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 2:44PM
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I'll pick up some New Jersey Knight to see how that does too. Very little room left, but what if I plant in a 27 gallon barrel? Anyone else do this with success?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 3:58PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

That sounds like a pretty big barrel. Check out this blog:

Here is a link that might be useful: Sub-Irrigation Trough Planter

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:11PM
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I already have a large sub-irrigated raised bed. The only problem is the salt accumulation in the valley. I have another raised bed - not sub-irrigated and this out performs the sub irrigated one by a large margin.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:37PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Some folks put a filter on the hose bib for salt control. Have you considered that?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:15PM
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I'd like to get a whole house filter to get the salt out, but the hose bib filters I've looked at don't remove the salt, but good to get the chlorine out.

Started looking for a whole house filter but too many choices and I need something very economical. Just interested in getting the salt out (Na, Ca, Mg), not the chlorine. Any recommendations appreciated.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:45AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

hmmm, let me check with the person who recommends the filter, Vynnie the Gardner. He teaches lots of classes on gardening etc. I'll let you know what he says.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:52AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

toucan, Vynnie finally answered me, he says the filter does help. Here's his response:

The filters do mitigate salts pretty well - all heavy minerals. I have great success with them. I water a few herbs along with the veggies, which act as indicators for my water quality. Lemon balm and basil will show leaf burn, and that's when I know my filters have be changed. But generally, the filters last about 3-4 months on the daily water stuff. These are my super-duper secret weapon in the veggie garden.

I usually get them at HomeDepot ($10) but they carry them only during warm season. Find them with the misting systems. I buy a batch for the year so I don't run out over winter.

You may be able to get them at some irrigation supply places (Sprinkler World, Ewing).

Hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Particle Filter

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:49AM
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Thanks marymcp. I'm going to pick up one.

Have you gotten your asparagus yet?

I'm not sure I should have planted mine. It has been so cold. I wonder if they will even grow now. I planted mine in some big barrels. I think it was decent drainage, but with the rains we've had in the last month, I'm not sure if they've rotted, or died from cold. Certainly there is no sign of any growth yet.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 10:18PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

I have not planted mine yet. I got the UC157 crowns about 3 weeks ago and the instructions said to plant immediately (within one week). Otherwise cover the roots with soil and keep moist. So that's what I've been doing.

I also have some Jersey Knight crowns on order and those won't arrive until early March. If you think you've lost your starters, Root Phoenix has been advertising that they have asparagus crowns at their Saturday Farmer's Market. They are on 12th St north of Bethany.

This post was edited by marymcp on Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 9:46

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:39AM
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