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Asparagus, what now?

Posted by slowpoke_gardener 6/7 (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 9, 11 at 20:38

My neighbor call just before dark and gave me some Asparagus roots and some Elephant garlic. The garlic I think I can just stick into the ground ( I already have 16 elephant garlic). The asparagus I have no idea what to do with. I goggled and it seems as everyone has a different idea.

I expect I will have to do a raised bed tomorrow because I have wet heavy soil.

Any ideas? Thanks very much, Larry.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Asparagus, what now?

I am no authority, but I have raised it before at another home. I only planted mine this year and I planted it in a raised bed. At my other house it was in a raised bed but I still fought the grass.

I know what you mean about all the different theories tho, because I had the same problem. Some say trench it and fill it in gradually, others say to dig a deep hole the mound it up in the center and put the roots all the way around it. One said just throw it in a hole and it will find it's own way up. Others said that if it is planted too deep you wouldn't get large spears. I guess that means dealers choice.

I planted in a 4x12 raised bed that is a foot tall. I dug a wide hole about 5 or 6 inches deep and spread the roots out as much as I could while keeping the crown of the plant up. I covered it and watered it in. I let everything fern out this year but plan to start light cuttings in the Spring. I had a few roots left over so I just planted them in a corner of the garden and they are growing just as good as the others. I will probably move those that are in the ground because they are very near the corner of my neighbor who lets his poke grow into trees.

Yesterday I cut the ferns back to the ground, covered it with chopped leaves and laid the ferns back on top to help hold the leaves in place.

I don't know if I did it the best way, but they all seemed to live through this terribly hot summer, so I guess I did OK.


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

Larry,
Yes just plant the garlic. I have very sandy, well drained soil so my experience with asparagus may not be the same as yours. In my case I have planted it late, watered and then mulched well and it survived. Jay


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RE: Asparagus, what now? 2

Jay, do you still have your Christmas card view or did the ice melt?


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Fog

Carol,
The ice on the highways melted and dried off. Some of the crystals have fell from the limbs, fences, ect. But it is real foggy again and things are getting damp so imagine it will be back in the morning. Jay


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

Larry, A couple years ago, we let a man come dig about 100 plants of asparagus in Oct. I didn't think to tell him how to plant it in detail. He had read about that "dig-a-trench-and-fill-it-up-gradually-as-the-spears-come-up" method so that's what he did. After a hard winter with zero temps he found that almost all of it died. Well established asparagus is very hardy, but newly transplanted crowns in a ditch that holds water over an inch or two of soil froze or rotted. That system is only for spring planting. For late fall you want to dig a trench deep enough to cover the eyes at least 4-5" in heavy soil, and then mulch really good. Last fall and again very early last spring, Glenn put what I was sure was too thick a layer of wood chips over our patch (I was sure the pencil size spears would not make it through. But they did.) Even over the summer that layer of 3-4" of compacted wood chip mulch kept the soil damp and the asparagus healthy. And almost no weeds. (A few morning glory seedlings came up, easy enough to pull.) After years of back breaking work pulling lambsquarter, chickweed, amaranth, crabgrass and assorted other weeds out of a 2,000 sq ft patch of asparagus at least twice each spring, not having to weed is wonderful. The only caveat about using that much wood chips--or oak leaves--is that they are acid and asparagus likes to be neutral to alkaline. So since we heat with wood, we spread cold wood ashes over the mulch between the rows. Agricultural lime would also work. Good luck with them


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

Oh my Jay, that stinks. We are getting cold at night but are having pretty nice days. We have a little rain on the way but it doesn't look bad. If I can finish my garden first then I will be happy for the rain to fall to wet down the leaves I have in my garden.

We are having our heat pump replaced and they promised that they would get it installed before another cold spell hit. We still have heat but we are not running it constantly. If it gets too cold we can always move to the bunkhouse, but I don't think we will have to. I told Al that I feel like we are on fuel rationing or something. You be careful on that ice. I am sending you an email.


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

A big thanks to all of you. I will work on a place to plant them tomorrow after I go to help DD. SIL is in bad shape and not able to do much, and no prospect of ever being any better.

One thing I am wondering about is root knot nematodes. Most of what I have read says no problem, but a few sites say asparagus is a host. Can any of you sit me straight here? If it is not a host I know exactly where I will plant then.


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

Dorothy keeps reminding me about the acid/alkaline soil thing, and it's a good thing, because I rarely think about it except for berries. We haven't used our fireplace this year so I will either find some lime or go get a bucket of ashes from a neighbor. You don't use many ashes, do you?

I normally add both leaves and compost to everything every year and since everything seems to grow (except carrots), I just rarely think about soil PH.

The carrot thing is a little crazy because it isn't the same problem every year. One year, may first one in this garden, I had lots of plants but very little root. This year I planted lots and only about a half dozen came up. Dawn posted a long post about carrots this year and I now have a new method to try for next Spring. I think it is both a timing and temperature issue for me. In addition, we have heavy spring rain most years and I think sometimes the seeds just wash away because I found a few small plants a long distance from where I planted.

I think my husband thinks I don't grow carrots on purpose, because it is not my favorite vegetable. He loves them.

Dorothy, that is a big asparagus patch. Lucky you.


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

When I said mulch well I usually add 2-3 inches of leaves and ground up alfalfa or pellets over newly fall/winter planted asparagus. Then up to 4-6 inches of wheat straw by the end of winter. I've never had any trouble with my asparagus coming through it and have never experienced winter kill.Then every year I add leaves, alfalfa and usually sprinkle a little cottonseed meal, corn gluten or something similar on top and then another 2-4 inches of mulch. Depending on how much I have left. I do the horseradish bed the same way. The worms love it. And the plants do well. My soil and water are both alkaline so if I add anything it is a sprinkle or so of sulfur. By using this method one thing to think about is after several years the soil level raises. My bed used to be several inches below the foundation of my storage building. Now it is above it. I had to lower some areas last year so it would drain away from my foundation. Jay


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

Larry, With nematodes, you can never say "never" because some years the nematode population is so high that they infest plants you usually don't find them on. However, asparagus (along with corn and onions) is considered a poor host for nematodes, so you're less likely to have nematodes on asparagus than on plants that are known to be better hosts.

Remember though, that if you have nematodes anywhere on your property, they can travel to a previously-uninfested area via tools, plants, roots, tubers or corms brought in from another location, soil on the soles of your shoes or even rainfall that puddles and runs across the ground. Once you've got nematodes, it is a constant battle.

Dawn


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

Jay, That's funny about your soil because Al told me this week that I was about to make my garden higher than the walkway that goes through it. I didn't know that you grew horseradish, so I'm glad you posted above. Have you dug yours this year? I thought they would die back but that didn't happen. Can I remove mine now and plant some of it back into the garden? When do you dig yours?


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

I got my garlic and asparagus planted today. As it turned out there were only two asparagus crowns and about 10 or 12 garlic bulbs. It was dark last night and we could not see what we were racking out of sack of shavings. I an glad I did not get any more. My soil is unbelievably wet, I just stood at the side of the garden and sort of racked and poked a hole to plant in. Many of the onions I started from seed were lying on the ground because of so much freezing and thawing.

I want to get the winter garden bare to work it in the freezing weather to reduce the nematodes, but it will have to get a lot dryer than what it is now to do anything to it. I always till long before I want to so the soil will dry a little. Gardening in a hole is really the pits. (Pun intended)

Larry


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

Mulberry the wood chips don't rob nitrogen? I had a tree removed and have some fresh elm chips. Would those work or should the chips sit for a year or two?


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

Helen, I don't know if the wood chips rob nitrogen. They just lay on top of the ground, so hope not. The asparagus grew fine this year. IF they look pale next spring, we may throw on some fertilizer.

Carol, we put the ashes on very thinly, spreading them in the aisles between the rows. We don't put them on top of the crowns, as we are afraid they would damage the crowns.


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RE: Asparagus, what now?

Thanks Dorothy.


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