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companions for asparagus

Posted by
penny_md6 Md 6b
(pec@starband.net) on
Sun, Nov 11, 01 at 18:47

In the spring I'm planting a large bed of asparagus. I'd like to plant an annual...or perennial, with the asparagus. I thought maybe baby's breath but I'm afraid it will reseed and become a weed. Has anyone found a pleasing, non-intrusive companion for asparagus?

Opinions welcome.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: companions for asparagus

  • Posted by Vgkg 7-Va Piedmont (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 10, 01 at 7:35

Hi Penny, if you're looking for a veggie companion I suggest tomatoes planted around the perimeter of the gus patch, but not on the south side as they will shade the gus later on. Both plants deter each other's pests. vgkg


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RE: companions for asparagus

How can you grow asparagus in zone 6? I have been trying for years in Z-8 here and have had so little luck. Have had over 200 roots ordered over the years and have given up! But those 2 servings I get a year sure are tasty!!!


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RE: companions for asparagus

Have you considered comfrey? It dies down as the asparagus shoots and, being a deep feeder, acts like an automatic fertilizer for the asparagus.


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RE: companions for asparagus

Cosmos would look nice. They have a similar ferny foliage and they can reseed but they are not usually invasive (for me, at least). They are usually easy to grow from seed,too.

baby's breath would be nice and I never have much trouble with it coming back (i wish!). I know that it likes alkaline soil, but don't know what your asparagus would like.

I put some holly hocks in with my asparagus, but I only grow it for looks, so that might be a bad idea for you!

good luck!


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RE: companions for asparagus

I've been trying to understand why you need/want companion plants for your asparagus bed...for the life of me, I am confused. After I have harvested the current crop, I put on another layer of composted mulch, water well, and let the asparagus be so that it gain the strength it needs for the coming year's crop.

Perhaps this is a different kind of asparagus I'm thinking of?


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RE: companions for asparagus

Hi,
I had given up on this thread weeks ago...forgot all about it. Thanks all for not letting me down!

Hi Vgkg, The tomatoes will be growing near for the very reason you mention.

Shirley, same asparagus, I'm sure. The reason for companions with asparagus is because I thought the fernlike plumes would look nice with an annual like the cosmos mentioned by ohiovalleygirl, great idea. The cosmos are also a beneficial garden plant, I think.
I am not looking for plants that will compete but rather something attractive that will complement it.

Userse, WOW...sorry to hear you've had no luck growing my favorite veggie, could it be the soil? I'd get a soil sample. It's quite hardy here in zn 6.
Snavl, hmmmmmmm...comfrey eh? Hadn't thought of that one, sounds interesting.

Thanks to all...


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RE: companions for asparagus

Actually, asparagus does better in cooler regions.. They need a cold winter for dormancy. I use it as a looong border on the west side of my veggie/flower garden. The ferny foilage is really nice in flower arrangements. If you stop harvesting when the spears get skinny they'll make tall ferny branches that help feed the roots per my Garden Bible.

An asparagus lover,
Suzanne


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RE: companions for asparagus

I haven't tried this yet, but I read that the self-seeding, tall Verbena bonariensis (overaggressive seeding is very easy to control) combines nicely with the airiness of the Asparagus. Sounds good enough to try, but unfortunately, I have no room at present for the Asparagus bed.


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RE: companions for asparagus

Basil, Parsley, Tomato are the accepted companions for asparagus. Asparagus doesn't get on well with Onions, Garlic, Gladiolus, Potatoes. Annette


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RE: companions for asparagus

I see lots of asparagus around abandoned cellar holes, so people have grown it up here for quite some time. 2 years ago now I planted 58 m. washington asparagus in one long row. They have survived one snowy winter and am awaiting to see what pops up this year.
I can vouch for the fact that asparagus doesn't do well with onions as neighbors. Actually, the onions had a bigger problem than the asparagus did. Ditto for marigold. I'll try tomato this year. Hopefully the asparagus beetles will be interested in eating the flea beetles on my tomatoes, or vice-versa.


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How far apart do the onion and the aspagarus have to be then? Oh boy.. I just planted some onion next to my asparagus patch.. what should I do?! Help


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Helen..thought I would bring this subject back up..I also planted asp next to my onions, about 3 feet apart. I had a great harvest from both the last 2 yrs so I don't see the problem there.


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I have spearmint creeping into my asparagus bed.I'm thinking this shouldn't be a problem since mint is shallow rooted and asparagus grows deep.Any opinions on this?It looks and smells alot better than the grass i can't keep out.
Marte


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RE: companions for asparagus

Hi, I'm new here, but will offer another opinion:

I'm planting dutch clover (and/or New Zealand) between asparagus rows and amongst other perennials such as artichokes on the assumptions that 1) it grows low and stays fairly managable, 2) it will help supress weeds, 3) it adds nitrogen to the soil (asparagus is a heavy feeder), 4) it attracts benificial insects, and 5) should self-seed to a thick carpet, blocking out all but it and the desired perennials...(two caveats: first year for this trial, so I can't yet vouch as to efficacy....and, I don't suggest this with strawberries).

Sabi - at Bearpen Farm in beautiful western NC mountains


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RE: companions for asparagus

formerly penny_md6

Hi,
I can't believe this thread is still alive. My asparagus is in it's 3rd year now and I've grown cosmos, wave petunias and parsley over the last 2 years. This year I'm planting alyssum beneath it and I still wanna try the comfrey. That ones not so easy to find.

I don't think it matters that onions are grown 2-3' from asparagus. I believe it's just when you grow it side by side.

I don't know about creeping mint though, all mints are so aggressive that I don't grow it at all unless I can contain it.

Btw, my asparagus is Jersey giants. I have a few females, but not many. I get to harvest lots next year.


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mschwartz -
Mint bad! Get it out of the bed, if you can! Mint will take the bed over eventually. If its been there since your post and hasn't already put on a full frontal attack consider yourself lucky. If given free rein I am of the opinion that mint would overthrow the world! And while that would smell supa, it would suck for you veggie bed.


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RE: companions for asparagus

Comfrey can be kind of invasive too. It is also kind of big and may compete a little with the asp and of shade it. Comfrey can grow in sun, but really prefers shade.
I have grown the white clover as a cover crop in the regular vegy garden. It actually gets bigger than you would think and can outcompeat some veges like carrots and smaller seedlings. There are lots of benefits to it, but it required more work in hacking it back than I was inerested in doing(it is a great additive to the compost pile though). I may try it in the asparagus bed though, no need to worry about it out compeating the asp and it is certainly better than the grass. I wonder though if it would require to wonderful a place for the beetles to hide.
I have grown tomatoes and basil near the asp with wonderful results, but of course you can't repeat that year after year as the tomatoes have to be rotated. I think I'll try parsley next. That was in the _ loves _ books I think.


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RE: companions for asparagus

z8 asapragus

we live in western washington and ordered 1 yr old jersey giant male crowns. we got 20 and 14 of those same up beautifully and ferned. two were very late, though. i'm ordering more for next year to fill in current bed and start a new one.

all we did was dug up the grass to make a bed 4x8', ordered the crowns, then i planted them. eventually the "spears" came up and they are ferning now. i can't imagine what the problem could be with yours. we got our crowns from park seed i believe. all i ever did to that bed was watered and used MG fertilizer. where did you get your crowns and where are you physically located.

vgkg - i knew that tomatoes were a good companion and i had 5 volunteer plants, kind of small and scraggly. i put them in my 1yr bed. amazingly, they have just shot up and are on the big side, close to sprawling. i want to move them now to my just cleared bush bean bed. think it will be ok?

kerri


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RE: companions for asparagus

What are the preffered mulches for asparagus? I am going to plant a bed here for the first time (zone 5 - southwest MI) and would like to use that fabric black mulch witht he little holes in it that allow air and water in and keep weds down. Would this be okay for planting asparagus or would it be damaging in any way?

Any advice would be much appreciated!


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Whoa! It's still living!!!

I wouldn't use landscape fabric in my vegetable garden OR flower beds. Instead, try using a few inches of shredded leaves. They make an excellent mulch and are much more natural than the awful landscape fabric. That stuff will outlive your asparagus patch and your children.


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RE: companions for asparagus

  • Posted by eden z6/Mo (My Page) on
    Sun, May 2, 04 at 21:27

Userse--just to let you know how I was successful planting asparagus-many people here cannot get it to grow. The direction say to plant in a "deep trough". We did the first time and everyone of them rotted-we have clay soil-so it was like putting them in a clay trough-no drainage.
The next year, we took the same "trough and put lots of rich soil and composted manure on top and made a mound about two feet above ground level. The asparagus loved it-and we have had it for about five years now. We have "no" problems except with beetles-but the crop is great. You might want to try this method. Our patch is about 8' X 3' and we get all of the aspargus we can eat and put up some ea. year.


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Eden, How many crowns did you plant and what configuration. Also I was hoping for more mulch suggestions.

Anyone?


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RE: companions for asparagus

  • Posted by SaBro z5 swMO (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 4, 04 at 14:08

Not to beat this subject to death but I am new here and wanted to put in my 2 cents worth. I have an asparagus bed that is close to twenty years old and going strong. One of the best things I have done so far is use Preen & Green. After hoeing the bed early in the spring to get any weeds out, I followed package directions and I have a clean bed and outstanding asparagus this year. Great stuff!


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Could somebody please tell me what aspargus looks like when it just starts coming up? This is the first year that I have planted it.


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Hi Baldi,

It looks like asparagus:-) Sorry, I'm not being wise but the gus spears emerge 1st and the ferns soon follow. It's kinda strange looking really with nothing but the spears poking out.

Year 3: planted yellow cosmos in my gus patch this spring and it looked great. They must be planted before the gus ferns out tho or it'll shade the cosmos.

I started putting shredded leaves on my bed in the fall and spring and I've had no weed problems. I love using leaves on my beds because they look so good and they're *free*.

Peggy, formerly penny_md6


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RE: companions for asparagus

  • Posted by PaulNS NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 24, 04 at 11:28

This thread has been going a long time, I like the updates on people's asparagus beds. I've grown early greens - lettuce, arugula - with success between the rows. Anise hyssop has been self-seeding in the patch, not too aggressively - that's nice and very attractive to bees. Cosmos sounds good too. We mulch with seaweed but that's scarce this year so may try leaves.

With all due respect - please don't try growing comfrey anywhere in the garden, especially not in the asparagus patch. Maybe it dies back in very hot climates. Here in zone 5-6 it is a brute that spreads and is virtually impossible to eradicate.


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Hi Paul,

I read up on the comfrey some time back and decided against that long ago.

I just mulched my gus bed with shredded leaves as I do every fall. With the exception of a little clover, I virtually have no weeds in the bed. The leaves are excellent for smothering weeds while adding organic matter to the soil.

This thread has been around for awhile hasn't it?


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RE: companions for asparagus

it's back!!! it's alive!!!!!

since everyone has had years of experience by now, could someone please advise me on some ideas- are they good, bad, not so good but might work, etc...

here goes. i don't not like asparagus. hey, don't shoot me, that leaves more for the rest of the world. while i am at it, anyone have ideas on how to get the smell off my hands after picking. i wash my hands three times and i still smell of asp juice! sorry, again i don't find tht too pleasant. i would like to grow asp for dh, much easier than foraging the countryside, so here goes (again):
#1.5 i do not have the room for asp patch, nor do i want to devote any spot to asp. can i interplant it into my flower garden? will it take over during the reseed time? the garden is clay in almost full sun that also receives reflected heat from the house. i have always liked the idea of interplanting flowers and veggies.
#2. if it doesn't work there, how about on the southside of a privacy fence? however, it is very dry right next to the fence.
#3. is asp toxic to grazing cats or dogs? i am especially concerned bc the neighbor on the other side of the fence has a dog. i would hate for it to come up on their side and be blamed for making their dog sick (i would also feel i deserved the blame)
#4. if it spreads more than i like, how can i control it? there is only one person in the house to eat it, so we only need a few.
#5. i hear not to eat the tiny skinny spears, to let them go to seed. are these the males or the females?

thanks!


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I moved into a house with a large asparagus bed that was full of weeds. My neighbors really love us for giving away the extras. This year I had lot's of cardboard from some furniture that I bought so I put that down between the rows. I will have a bed that is under control some year...I will I will I will!


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RE: companions for asparagus

I heard salt will keep weeds out of your asparagus patch,anyone ever try it.It's not supposed to hurt the asparagus.I have clay soil and I planted 50 plants only about 15 made it,i might have planted it to deep.I need more; can I sow asparagus seeds in the bed.Or do I have to grow them then move them to the patch?Thanks,Jody


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I have planted Nasturtium seeds in my new Asp. bed just for something to look at. It's in clay soil amended with leaf compost and not planted as deep as I would have in my former sandy Boston soil. I'm glad someone brought up the topic of planting in clay. Robin in NC


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Just found this old thread and wanted to respond to something someone said way back.

For me, it was a BAD IDEA to plant hollyhocks anywhere near my asparagus, because the hollyhocks developed rust and then it spread to the asparagus. Ouch! Can't solarize that soil now!

This is just my first year with the Jersey King hybrids, and hoping they'll be OK if I just keep on dousing them with the neem.


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Anyone out there have a problem with gus spreading into flower beds. My gus bed has moved itself a good 4 feet from where it started. Is there any way to transplant back into the area it started from? And also would like advise of pruning the ferns when they become over 5 feet tall.


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RE: companions for asparagus

Hi - someone mentioned adding salt to asparagus beds. I have read that elsewhere as a block to fusarium wilt (I had tomatoes in my asparagus bed that got wilt and I'm afraid it might be in the dirt). But I imagine salt would be unhealthy for the companion plants? Anybody have experience with this?
Thanks!


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My permaculture landscaper said they learned that asparagus and grapes grow well together. So I am going to plant some asparagus with two grape plants next year. Will See how they do.


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Guess I'm a little late to this party. I'm wondering if anyone had luck with their companion plantings, besides the hollyhocks and tomato problems.

My asparagus bed is looking a little lonely, and I tucked some garlic in there early this spring before it popped up. So far, they're all doing good. After reading here, I'm thinking of yanking out the garlic.

Has anyone tried growing strawberries in their asparagus beds? I have some left over and need a place to plant them. I was thinking asparagus and strawberries might make nice companions.


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Hmmmm, I like the sound of strawberries with asparagus... I just put a raised bed of 'Gus this Spring. I put carrots and radishes between the rows. My son was asking for a strawberry patch... Maybe I'll get a few plants and see what happens!


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Hi: We just had about 8" of snow over the last week that has melted off in the last 24-36 hours--warmed up and windy!! So, I'm thinking about gardening. I'm going to try the salt this spring because our crop was skimpy last year. Could be from the rot? Was thinking about trying a few bush bean plants (covered with bird netting to keep out the deer). We have quite a problem with "wire grass" taking over if we are not diligent with weeding. From the comments from people having asparagus around for years, decreasing production must be an issue with environment rather than age. Any other suggestions appreciated. Love this site and all the others that have helped with questions I've have in the past. Thanks--Lynn


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RE: companions for asparagus

Hey There. Great conversation. Tons of info. Thanks.

Sunday, I staked out my first asparagus bed, ten feet wide and eighty-three feet long. Wierd in zone five, mid-Febuary (was actually turning soil in main garden next day). I only plan twenty-eight asparagus plants, to make room for companions. Tomatos, peas, basil, parsley, oragano, greens and nastirtiums should be mutally benifical to each other and the asparagus.

In clay soil, I will dig three foot diameter circles one foot deep, in three rows, spaced two and a half feet apart with each hole staggered in relation adjacent row. Each plant, in common rows, will end up being eight feet eight inches apart. Compost, soil and manure will be added to each hole until mounded into a hill on which an asparagus crown will be planted. The hill will then be mulched.

The herbs will be planted around the asparagus hills to form a circle with diameter five feet. The voids left by the circles in the over all bed will be planted with sixteen tomato-pea pairs, and randomly filled out with nastirtiums. Greens and herbs seeded around parimeter will help keep weeds out.

Any advice on this plan would be greatly appreciated.

Peace, Pat


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Hi, all -
thanks for an interesting and informative discussion! I was thinking about putting clover in my asp bed. Maybe will try nasturtiums and basil.
thanks again
Nik


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This is a great long running thread. I have recntly planted some gus seed and at my old farm had an old bed. Oh the weeds and what we tryed with it!!

I am planning for my next farm with the seed. I plan to grow it in pots. I have found that terra cotta pots buried 3/4 of the way in the ground (sand here) makes for a lot less needey plant that a normal potted plant, which I usually let not do so good.

How large of a pot will the plants need as they grow?
Thank you


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RE: companions for asparagus

Re: Pat 'patrickvh'

I'd really like to see a picture of this!!!

To All:

When is the best time of year to plant asparagus?
I moved to Central WA after living in Western WA and feel like I need to learn how to garden all over again.
Last year I planted herbs in containers and they all died from lack of water, I just couldn't keep them irrigated enough!

This year I plan to put in drip and mini sprinklers to mist when needed on timers!

Live Light!


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We transplanted some older 'gus' roots recently, they were doing poorly where they were before, the oregano (not sure what herb it was) had been groing wild over it and we hardly got any spears. I was really suprised when we dug up the roots, they were large and healthy.
I think by moving them now they will grow better in the spring.


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terry
I will be interested in how well your 'gus' handles the move. I just tried dividing some of my roots to see if I could propagate them.
Dan


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When I was a tiny kid, I'd sneak next door and eat raspberries that grew in an asparagus bed. So when we moved to a home with an established bed, just for nostalgia's sake I planted a few raspberry plants. WOW did I ever get a bumper crop of both! Old Julie must have known a thing or two about companion planting back then.


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RE: companions for asparagus

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a-S.C.,USA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 28, 11 at 23:14

I have 20,000 lbs of coffee waste, that I am going to put red worms in. Then put the casting/compost in 36" deep bed that will be 52'long X 7' wide. The crowns will be 12" apart,16" between rows, yes they will make that close, but no other plant can be put in the bed. I was told that Sodium Chloride Rock (NaCI) or pickling salt should be applied at 2.5 lbs per hundred feet row. Not table salt or any other salt.
I will put Coir down & mulch with shredded leaves.
I will have 200 crowns per bed & 3 beds. The crowns are dirt cheat(no pun) if you buy 500 or more.
If you check this link, you can learn more about the asparagus, yes they sale the crowns, but they give free lessons too.

Here is a link that might be useful: asparagus gardener


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  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 29, 11 at 0:09

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K0fQJAoq3E
Raised beds for gus.

Here is a link that might be useful: jon beds


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Wow this thread has been going for 9+ years now...neat.
Anyway was wondering if the person "pickahotpeppa" had any luck with the asparagus and strawberries in the same bed? Anybody else try this combo? Getting ready to plant both and was hoping they could share a bed...


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RE: companions for asparagus

i just saw these postings (wow! 9 years and counting!!!) as i was looking for a companion plant for my asparagus. i've planted eggplants and bell peppers on the same plot, it did bear some but i think the tomato patch right next to the gus patch has somewhat shaded it so the peppers and eggplant didn't grow that high. the suggestions of cosmos, nasturtiums and strawberries are interesting. does anyone have any pictures of their gus patch with their companions?


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Here I am. What a blast from the past. Too funny this thread caught my eye again while looking for an oregano companion!

I did not plant the strawberries with the asparagus. As a matter of fact, I've lost one asparagus bed to root rot, and the other I'm waiting to see if it comes up this year. The garlic is still in there. I can't believe it's been three years already!

The strawberries have outgrown their bed and are popping up along every crack and crevice around the garden beds. I was thinking of moving them, saw the post about the asparagus, thought that was a neat idea, then saw my name mentioned later down the page referencing strawberries in asparagus.

LOL

I think it's time to move that garlic now . . . and maybe sock some strawberries in its place.


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My asparagus (grave shaped with the gus around the perimeter) is near the neighbor's walnut tree. So tomatoes did not work. I planted large hyacinth in the center and had beautiful blooms. The strawberries sound good, but will that walnut tree cause problems? What veggies will be happy in that environment?


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My 'gus patch has been in about 4 years, I started with about 15 crowns. I'm having decent spears and plenty of ferns.
I directly compost in my 3 beds, rotating to a new one each year. Last fall it was time to compost in the 'gus patch, and I was concerned about digging into the crowns, causing damage. I layered grass clippings and leaves nearly 2feet deep and buried the compostables at the soil level. This spring I had the best 'gus ever. I raked out some of the finished compost for spring planting in the other beds.

All that mulch was down to the soil level again, so I dumped thick grass clippings on it again. Watered that down, and WOW, more 'gus popped up! This is my new system for fertilizing the asparagus patch. Next fall I'm going to plant more crowns to fill in better.

I have noticed it 'crawling'. I'm watching its growth habit. It doesn't seem to come up in exactly the same spot, leaving an empty place from last year.

I also like some of the flower companion ideas to complement the summer ferns. Thanks for all your ideas.


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Has anyone tried dutch white clover as a cover crop? We have a bed that is hard to maintain as far as weeds go, and we keep bees.


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I was thinking of planting Sweet Peas along the wall of my house behind my asparagus. Does anyone know of a reason that this would be a bad idea? I am also curious about how strawberries would work with asparagus as mentioned earlier by someone.


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  • Posted by QBush 6, NE MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 14, 12 at 9:14

WildRose: When do you pile leaves and grass? My patch is new this year, and the ferns are fairly small yet. should I wait till they die down, or just pile around them? Here in MA we have lots of leaves, and DH will love me for making leaf season easier AND feeding His favorite veggie. I usually put horse manure in compost, but I think coffee grounds sound better for asparagus. I will have to wait for the baby beets I snuck in to cover soil at front of bed come out... (pickled beets for leaf totting DH)

Thanks!!


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Great thread. FYI, where I live in Colorado, asparagus grows wild along the irrigation ditches. Over the years, I noticed that when farmers burn the ditches in the spring, the asparagus is better than in years they don't. The main competition are grasses and fescues of various types. Interestingly, in the fall, I don't see any difference in the amount of the grass or the size of asparagus plants in the fall in burned and non-burned years.


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I have a 2-yr-old asparagus bed that I have interplanted with rhubarb. I figured they both need lots of nutrients and lots of water, and the rhubarb leaves would help shade out the weeds, without shading the asparagus.

Of course last year was a drought year, so they've both been unhappy :-( I'll be topdressing with compost this spring, and we'll see how they do this year.


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Hi Everyone!

I'm new to this website, but it sure is cool to see a thread that has been going for 13 years!

I have an existing asparagus bed (in the ground) that is next to the perimeter of the garden... about 24" from the fence. It is about 5 years old, and doing great. For lack of space (we have many critters- deer, rabbits, ground squirrel...) the garden is built like a fortress, and works well. I have interplanted the 2' between the asparagus and the wire fence with all sorts of things: Purple Orach looked really pretty with the ferns in summer, some cucumbers trained p the fence, I have had cilantro and dill there (this didn't seem like a fantastic combo, but maybe I didn't fertilize enough that time), and this winter there are a few broccoli, calendula in the fence, dino kale, and onion set. The Kale is medium size, and probably will have to be pulled before the asparagus needs to fern (But maybe not, it could be structural!).

My question: have many of you started asparagus from seed? I decided to, because the crowns are expensive, and I had never heard of crowns sold of this seed: "Precocce d' Argenteuil". I now have the cutest baby ferns- about 8 weeks old, and am making a raised bed for them. I am planning to cull the females when they seed, but because of the limited space, was thinking of planting them at about 6" intervals for this nursery year, then re-arranging the spacing after culling. I've been trying to find information on the internet about how the nurseries grow out the first year, but haven't found anything helpful.

Anyway, I'll at least try to remember to get back to this thread in a few years to let you all know how my experiment work out. Oh, and I am planning on planting the edge of the bed with freesia, because I have a bunch of bulbs!


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