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Asparagus temperate Europe /Great britain & perhaps other areas

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Post  plantoid on 11/9/2014, 5:44 pm

Just a quick heads up .  I got an email today from one of the big seed houses , saying that now is the time whilst the soil is still warm to plant new 3 yr old asparagus crowns & let them over winter .... That way you should be able to take a bit of crop May to June next year ( 2015) 
 They give the normal flat in the ground method of planting & spacings as unfortunately they don't know about ANSFG yet.

 I have eight crowns  that can be experimented with in a fully operational 14 inch deep MM filled bed .

 Having spent most of the last 10 days flat on my back due to a vicious escalation in back problems Alison has said that she will transplant them for me either tomorrow or on Tuesday .

They will be set 12 inches apart in the MM with 8 inches of well made heavily composted MM  above the top edge of the crowns & then another five inch thick mat of home made compost on top of that.
 
( To that end I'll be snipping off the dead & dying fern tops when they get lifted out the old bed. )
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Post  plantoid on 11/11/2014, 8:06 am

A total of 14 crowns were found in the old bed, they were spray wash cleaned with a hose pipe to remove almost all the MM on them and then taken immediately 25 yards down the garden to their new purpose built high rise home where hopefully they will produce loads of long white stalked spears for the next 20 years or more.

To get the longer white parts on the spears I read that you need to set the crowns at least 8 inches deep below the mean ground level , mine are in with an average of 9 inches of MM above  the top most part of the crown.
They will get their first boost dressing with pure well composted animal based manures come late March 2015  and also be dressed with some salt a few weeks later .
Evidently the salt acts as a weed killer but does not harm the asparagus , from then it will be done annually at the same time .


One advantageous serendipity that arose from using the hose on spray to wash the crowns clean once we'd lifted them , is that it left no doubt as to which part of the crown is the upper crown growth point that spears come from.  So no plants were accidentally inserted upside down .. Upside down planting of asparagus usually kills them as the internal juices within the plant roots run back into the crown & cause it to rot .


They were washed clean,  with each crown placed on a garden sieve ,set over the bed they came out of for the washing off , so all the MM fell through the sieve back in to the bed .

This also led to yet another extra gain , as any small weed seedlings or seeds are washed off the crowns,  allowing you a better chance of them growing up in a weed free bed
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Post  CapeCoddess on 11/12/2014, 5:23 pm

@plantoid wrote:Just a quick heads up .  I got an email today from one of the big seed houses , saying that now is the time whilst the soil is still warm to plant new 3 yr old asparagus crowns & let them over winter .... That way you should be able to take a bit of crop May to June next year ( 2015) 
That is really good news!  I found and planted 10 missed 2 yr plants about a month ago but didn't think anything would come of it.  Now I'm thinking there is actually hope for them.

Thanks for this, David.
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Post  Windmere on 11/13/2014, 5:34 pm

Plantoid, I am so sorry you are going through back problems.  I hate my aches and pains, so I can commiserate.


I planted asparagus in an EarthBox about mid summer.  I did not know about planting them upside down.  The instructions that came with my 2 yr crowns said to lay them flat in any direction (roots pointed anywhere on their sides).

Right now, they are all turning yellow.  I do not know if that is normal, or if I have a problem.  The depth of the EarthBox is about 8 inches (I filled it high, so maybe a little taller).  Please keep posting regarding your progress, I'm very interested in your experiences.
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Post  plantoid on 11/13/2014, 7:47 pm

As  autumn arrives the fern tops die off  and turn that yellow colour.  Cut them off so that strong winds don't lever the crowns open to the elements. I actually staked each set of ferns on each crown toll they started to turn yellow.
 
I seem to recall that asparagus roots can go 20 feet or so down in an established bed .
Certainly a 10 inch MM /compost covering over them will help you get long white spears with the green tops that are so expensive in the shops & sought after.
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Post  Windmere on 11/13/2014, 7:53 pm

@plantoid wrote:As  autumn arrives the fern tops die off  and turn that yellow colour.  Cut them off so that strong winds don't lever the crowns open to the elements. I actually staked each set of ferns on each crown toll they started to turn yellow.
 
I seem to recall that asparagus roots can go 20 feet or so down in an established bed .
Certainly a 10 inch MM /compost covering over them will help you get long white spears with the green tops that are so expensive in the shops & sought after.
Thanks for your advice plantoid.  I'm glad to know that the yellowing process is normal.

20 feet!!???  Oh my goodness.  The folks at EarthBox said planting them in an EarthBox would be fine.  I am seriously doubting my decision to use the EarthBox.  Ah well, it was an experiment.  I'll see what happens after winter.  Thanks again for the advice.
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Post  CapeCoddess on 11/14/2014, 1:44 pm

Windmere, Mel has us planting them in 6 inches!  So I'll bet your earthbox will be fine...as long as it will hold up for 30+ yrs. Laughing 

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