Asparagus is up!

buckhill(z4 WI)April 14, 2006

Now it's really spring for me--the asparagus is peeking (I found one stalk 2" tall!!) and I planted potatoes today--Good Friday. It was 80 here (Rio) today and I also got the first planting of lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, carrots, beets and kohlrabi in the ground. Ahh, spring!

Becky

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daddylonglegs(z5 WI)

Yes, I picked asparagus Saturday and intend to pick some tonight. It has been just a touch warmer down here.
Life is good!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 1:18PM
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aspen

I just got my asparagus bed cleaned up yesterday. Nothing yet, but we live on a north slope. We'll be planting beets, lettuce, radishes, and spinach today though. I'm wondering about direct seeding broccoli, cauliflower & sprouts, since it's such a warm spring so far. Does anyone have any experience with that?
Colleen

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 8:18AM
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daddylonglegs(z5 WI)

Colleen, funny you should ask about direct seeding because I was wondering the same thing. Something (gopher?) ate all the broccoli that I've been growing under lights for the last 8 weeks so I'm thinking about seeding directly in the garden under an empty 2-liter bottles.
Your north slope might be cold unless you try to trap the heat in with something?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 1:17PM
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buckhill(z4 WI)

Colleen, you could post your question about direct seeding seperately to get more responses, but I can tell you I always have good luck direct seeding kohlrabi in the garden as early as I can, so broccoli and cauliflower should work well too.

Daddylonglegs, where are you located at? I am in Columbia County.

Becky

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 10:51PM
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aspen

Thanks for all your input. I think I'll try both direct seeding, and starting some in the greenhouse as a backup. Most of our vegetable garden is in raised beds, so the soil warms up and dries out nicely in Spring.
Daddylonglegs, I can sympathize with you. I had some African marigolds I started six weeks ago in the greenhouse, and yesterday when I went in, the tops were all eaten off. Mice? Chippies? grrrrr. very disappointing.
Colleen

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 8:36AM
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elvis

Good morning, all! I always direct sow my coles. Used to start broccoli, cauli, cabbage indoors. For the past 5 years, I have started nothing for the veggie garden indoors except toms. Everything is direct sowed. Once they take off, they grow incredibly fast. You bypass the transplant shock factor and these guys, like peas, radishes, carrots, parsnips, resist a freeze anyway. I strongly recommend it.

Please don't try this with cukes or squash; they are too dainty for the cool temps.

Do keep the garden well watered to keep the plants strong--

I'm not kidding; I do this in Z3...

TTYL,

Con.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 9:26AM
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daddylonglegs(z5 WI)

Becky, I'm probably about 90 miles or so southeast of you in Waukesha County. Sorry to hear about your marigolds, I can't believe something was hungry enough!
Con, do you start the seeds in the Wall-O-Waters to get the ground warm and keep the critters off, or just open? How do you stop the chippies, rabbits, etc?
I started some outside last night under milk jugs just to stop the critters from bellying up to the buffet.
I think you folks are right though, they probably will grow faster when seeded directly, I need to do more of that. I may start a new thread on how to keep the critters off.

Rich

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 1:23PM
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elvis

Hey, Rich.

The only thing I use Wall O'Waters for is toms, though peppers would be good in them. Critters? The veggie garden has a 6' fence, which so far (15 years) has been adequate for deer. Corn attracts coons the night before harvest, so to prevent harvest eve parties I really pay attention, as they are fence climbers. For the small stuff, i.e., chippies, I use mouse traps; bummer for the frogs and toads I accidentally trap (kill). But I have a hunter cat, so it's not generally an issue.

As for warming the ground, I think I'll start a thread on that as I have a new (for me) system.

Leaving for a long weekend in Sheboygan Falls now--

Let's do a rain dance!

Con.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 5:02PM
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flwrpowr

He all,

Asparagus question. When they come up already big and fat do you pick the tops right away? Mine are 5-6 inches high and and maybe 3/4 inch thick. Is there a rule of thumb that says to pick them before they are bigger than a pencil?

Is there something I should be doing to my bed. I started it about six years ago.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 9:53PM
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buckhill(z4 WI)

Hi Flwrpowr,
Plants that send up nice thick stalks are usually more mature roots or are male roots (that's why the all-male hybrids have thicker stalks.) If you have very thin stalks, they may be female roots, or new seedling plants. You will notice that a thin stalk doesn't get any thicker once it is out of the ground, so I don't pick anything thinner than a pencil--just let them grow and go to seed. This helps strengthen the root system for bigger growth next year.

Asparagus is a heavy feeder. Do you fertilize? A 10-10-10 garden fertilizer is fine, but if you can get a high nitrogen product, like urea (46-0-0), your asparagus will practically leap out of the ground!

Becky

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 11:29PM
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lee53011(5)

Do you cut the asparagus at ground level, or just the tops? When I used to pick wild stuff I would see people just cut off the tops, but i was told to cut at ground level. Does it make a difference to the plant? Also we moved and brought our asparagus with us and this would be the first year of it growing in it's new spot. Should we harvest this year or let it go to seed. Will it hurt to harvest it this year?

Thanks,
Lee

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 10:11AM
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buckhill(z4 WI)

Hi Lee,
I think you'll get various opinions on where/how to cut or snap asparagus--because it truly is a matter of preference. I don't think the plant cares! I prefer to snap stalks with my fingers, because then I can "feel" where the tenderness stops. I slide my fingers down the stalk, slightly bending it and snap it when I feel resistance.

How old were the asparagus plants you dug up and moved? Older plants get such massive root systems, usually it's not worth the effort to dig them up. Plus many experts say an individual plant only lives about 20 years. Moving it is a tremendous set-back to the plant. I wouldn't harvest any this year from them, and wait until you see how they look next spring. Make sure you water and fertilize well this year to get them re-established in their new home.

Becky

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 10:43PM
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lee53011(5)

Thanks Becky. They are about 5 years old. They have come up this year fairly good so far. Even a couple of pieces as big as my thumb!

Lee

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 7:07PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

Well I feel slighted by my asparagus, I keep checking but none is up yet, at least not in the official garden places. Mine is still young, though, and I raised the soil level a lot last year as it was still down in a trench. I have some older stuff at random locations that I never see until it is 2 feet tall and has branches . . .

On the other hand, I planted my kohlrabi, radishes, lettuces, broccoli, beets, arugula, cilantro, and dill several weeks ago in a raised bed with some onion sets around the outside. Lots of stuff growing there, plus one striped Japanese corn plant. (I was testing for germination after leaving all the corn outside all winter, and one rooted so vigorously I planted it. I didn't have the heart to kill it.) So at least that one small part of my garden is in good shape.

I started some tomatoes, eggplant, pepper, and cucumbers in peat pots (I often have transplanting trouble) which I set outside every day. Also have a cold frame where I am starting tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, not sure how that is going to work. So I guess I have enough things going and I do plan to grow a lot of sunflowers this year.

With the weird weather we had last fall everything kept growing into November, so I didn't get my fall cleanup done. Hardly started is more like it. Very busy with other stuff so have a great crop of weeds in several places but do have 4 raised beds fairly weed free. Lots of weeding ahead of me and making trenches and putting in rocks and oh dear, too much to do. Am thinking about just covering some of the weedy garden with cardboard and smothering the weeds and not gardening there until next year.

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 1:10AM
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daddylonglegs(z5 WI)

I split some of my roots last year. All my asparagus is up except for the roots that I split off. What did I do wrong???
I'm going to start burning incense and having candle light vigils in the garden until they sprout, or maybe a hunger strike, maybe play a few Beatles albums backwards, I'm not sure. I should have left it alone, I'm so bumbed out now...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 10:39PM
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buckhill(z4 WI)

Wow--that had to be kind of hard on the plants. When you split them off last year, did the parts you moved grow or send up new shoots? If not, they probably died. There are some really good new hybrids that put up thicker stalks that you might want to invest in.

Becky

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 11:02PM
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tootswisc(z4/5Wi)

My asparagus is not up yet either. DH is from Germany where thick white asaragus is the preference. So he mounds dirt up around the stalks and cuts them deep with a knife-the thicker the stalk the better. Yum Yum with hollandaise sauce. Unfortunately, he has gout now so not much asparagus for him.

I mulched my weeded bed last year with cardboard-could that cause problems?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 8:22AM
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sandlady(z4 WI)

No asparagus up here, but I'm not worried yet. We haven't had enough rain in my area. A real thorough soaking is what's needed to send it up.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 10:51AM
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annrn

My 2nd year Aspargus crop has sent about 20 shoots so far this spring. I cleaned out the weeds and applied composted manure. Does aspargus just come up shoots or are their some leafy weed looking parts to it above ground? I pulled one weed that had a very long root system and was dk orange. I hope I didn't pull out the aspargus roots. I know that eventually I will see ferns. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 8:50AM
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buckhill(z4 WI)

Yes, asparagus only sends up spears, which eventually mature into the fern-like plant. A weedy-looking plant at ground level IS a weed!

This has been a fun discussion. This morning I picked 4#, but today has been cold and now rainy (which we really need here in Columbia County) so I don't expect much growth overnight.

Becky

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 9:01PM
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ktavares(z6 MA)

I've got about 6 mature plants that have produced some nice thick spears. The only problem is that I forget to pick them!

Is it bad if the thick spears grow into a fern? I'll have to be more mindful next year!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 9:24AM
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daddylonglegs(z5 WI)

Once it gets this warm it's hard to keep up. I've had friends break the ferns off stating that the plant won't send up any more spears if you let it bolt like that. But I don't know if that's true, I still have some spears coming up. Certainly not as many though. I don't like breaking them off at that point, let the roots get their strength back.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 1:17PM
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buckhill(z4 WI)

Ktavares, you can safely keep picking your asparagus until the end of June. Then it needs the rest of the season until frost to store up energy for next year.

If you didn't pick and have a bunch that is already going to seed now, you can pick those tops off to stimulate the roots to send up more shoots. The plant's goal is to send up shoots, turn them into ferns and make seed; then it stops sending up stalks. If you keep picking they'll keep sending up more stalks.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 9:52PM
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toad08(7 South Carolina)

Asparagus is not up in my garden either, Rock Hill SC area.
I planted some new Asparagus plants today. As soon as my Asparagus start coming up I eat them right off the stem.
Of course I know not to harvest from the newly planted asparagus.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 6:35PM
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