depth for planting asparagus

skunk_cabbageFebruary 25, 2009

I was wondering how deep a bed to build for planting asparagus here in western CO. My neighbor had plants in a regular garden that froze when planted at 6". Should I go with a 12" bed (4x4, SFG), or will 6" do if I insulate with hay bales in the winter?

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newdadinky

I have no personal experience but found an article from Canada that mentioned the deeper you plant the crowns, the less production you'll get. But you can plant up to 16 inches deep in areas of deep freezes.

Are you planning on using mel's mix for your asparagus? I'm starting a bed this spring too and wonder whether I should amend the soil deeper than 6 inches. Or just till a little, then fill the top 6 inches with mel's mix.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 3:16PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Asparagus roots go strait down are heavy feeders and need a sweet soil (alkaline). I prepared my bed last fall and spaded leaf mold to a depth of 10" with a 10" box above that. I filled the box with 100% horse manure compost and several buckets of wood ashes. You must have miss read the article. There is no way you can plant the crowns 16" deep and have them survive.

John

Here is a link that might be useful: Johns Journal

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 4:10PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Your depth of crowns is a given, as explained above. Mulching is the answer, straw bales will do it.

Dan

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 4:22PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Also, I would not use Mel's Mix. the sphagnum peat is acidic and should not be used. Use coco coir or something natural.

John

Here is a link that might be useful: Johns Journal

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 5:14PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I landscaped all my friends' yards in CA and put in asparagus beds, as much manure as you can pile in there with the soil the better off you'll be. Spend the time before you plant and do it right. As jbest said, two feet down is fine, and your root crowns only 6-8". One friend had to fence off his bed because the dog would beat them to the spears...

Dan

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:07PM
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queuetue(5a)

Personally, I wouldn't plant asparagus (or most perennials) in raised beds. An asparagus colony will almost certainly outlive the bed - think on the 10-15 year scale, sometimes 20 or more, and 3 or more just to get started. I also don't think asparagus especially appreciates friable soil. It definitely won't want much peat - too acidic, and breaks down very slowly.

In my experience, asparagus are best planted in native or improved native soil, somewhat compacted, and then not disturbed other than to lop off the shoots when they grow to eating size, after the plants have established themselves, and mulch with a foot or more of organic matter once the season is over.

Practically the opposite of the SFG method. :)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 8:18AM
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ongodsmountain

I live in the mountains of northern Ca, at about 4200'... I want to plant asparagus and Artichoke as perennials, but I understand that I might need to build cold frames over the beds to do this...

I have a fenced in garden and a series of raised beds filled with mels mix... In the four 18" deep beds (2' x 4' surface area), I grow hops.. they are in between five other beds 12" deep in which I had planned to grow veggies (still might later with cold frames), but have had problems with tomatoes and peppers due to the short season (now gonna try them indoors this year)...

There is also another 6" deep bed along the front of all the other raised beds that is (2' x 28' surface area), that I was hoping to plant the asparagus seeds in and then cover them for the winter to keep them from freezing...

All of these beds are completely filled with mels mix (with hardware cloth and weed block underneath except for the hops which only have the hardware cloth so the tap roots can grow through the bottom)... I am thinking of using the two 2x4x12" beds on each end for the artichoke.....

Is the 6" too shallow for asparagus? Should I build another bed? should I have weed block underneath? (We have serious gopher/mole issues, so hardware cloth is a necessity under every bed)...

The long 6" bed is only about 25-30% filled, so I can easily use a different kind of soil if necessary...

These are pictures of the beds when I was building them 3-4 years ago.... and a picture or two of the bed from last year with hops and some cucumbers in the shallow bed...

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:25PM
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ongodsmountain

raised beds full length

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:28PM
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ongodsmountain

raised beds with hops

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:29PM
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ongodsmountain

6" deep bed where I want to plant the asparagus..

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:31PM
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