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Asparagus

Post  Debbie Newell on 5/6/2018, 1:21 pm

Has anyone done SQG with asparagus?
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Re: Asparagus

Post  Turan on 5/6/2018, 3:00 pm

I would do a search to read the several threads about this.  

Here is one for a start http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t20556-asparagus-in-table-tops-any-success-stories?highlight=Asparagus

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Re: Asparagus

Post  countrynaturals on 5/6/2018, 3:22 pm

@Debbie Newell wrote:Has anyone done SQG with asparagus?
I love you my asparagus bed, but it isn't SFG.  Embarassed It gets very tall and spreads, and can also live for 30 years, so it will need it's own permanent space. I can't wait to read what others have to say about it.  bounce
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Re: Asparagus

Post  llama momma on 5/7/2018, 5:49 pm

I've had asparagus for about 4 years in a sfg bed 1 foot tall.
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Re: Asparagus

Post  countrynaturals on 5/7/2018, 7:50 pm

@llama momma wrote:I've had asparagus for about 4 years in a sfg bed 1 foot tall.
Oooo, post a pic, pleeeeeeze.  I love you
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Re: Asparagus

Post  jim022659 on 5/7/2018, 8:22 pm

until a few months ago I had never even tried asparagus except for one time when I was young I tried some really thin stuff and it was stringy as heck. BUT a few month ago my son gave me a nice pinky sized piece and it was great. this year I am starting an asparagus patch. just deciding on the size now. thinking 4x4. 2 year old crowns.
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Re: Asparagus

Post  Scorpio Rising on 5/7/2018, 9:25 pm

@jim022659 wrote:until a few months ago I had never even tried asparagus except for one time when I was young I tried some really thin stuff and it was stringy as heck. BUT a few month ago my son gave me a nice pinky sized piece and it was great. this year I am starting an asparagus patch. just deciding on the size now. thinking 4x4. 2 year old crowns.
OK, this is my next project....love asparagus!!!  

Canto wait to hear your inner dialog about this!
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Re: Asparagus

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/9/2018, 12:40 pm

@Debbie Newell wrote:Has anyone done SQG with asparagus?
Hello Debbie - I've been lurking in this forum for quite some time, but haven't felt that I had anything to offer that was not addressed much better by the friendly, knowledgeable members of this forum - until now! 

I love asparagus, and when I started my first raised gardens, I planted 5 in a 4x4 box (4/sq ft spacing techniques, with 1 in the center). This was before I read ANSFG, so I didn't know about Mel's Mix and its importance in the method. However, asparagus farms are all over in my area due to the sandy soil that is perfect for growing it. I planted mine in ~7 inches of a 50/50 mix of native soil and Miracle Gro garden soil.

Three years later, after letting them grow without any harvesting the first two years, I had a good enough harvest to get about a serving a day for a week. The fourth year is when the waiting really paid off - delicious and abundant harvest for about a month. I followed packaged directions, keeping the bed as weed-free as possible, letting the ferns grow and only cutting them off after they were completely dead. 

I have to say, the first 8 or so years was great. I was pretty proud of myself, and enjoyed fresh asparagus. But as the plants really settled in and matured, the ferns were out of control for the whole summer and the rhizomes were spreading all over the box, pushing up out of the soil and bowing out the sides of the box. (my boxes have thin cedar side walls). The ferns are beautiful, btw. They were taller than my vertically-challenged 5'2", and I could not find a way to keep them contained in the area.  Around year 10, I was tired of messing with them, the production was slowing, and I truly regretted putting these things in such an enclosed space.

So, after 10 years, I hired one of my grandsons and we prepared an asparagus bed in the back yard on a sandy slope behind my deck. I tilled composted manure into the (mostly sand) native soil and built up a mounded row tier. Everything I read said that asparagus doesn't like to be transplanted, you have to treat it very carefully, and even if you do, it may not work. I started out being very careful, starting with a flat-edged shovel so as not to puncture or cut into the rhizomes. LOL!! That didn't last too long.

Now, asparagus doesn't have a tap root, per se, but mine had sent its roots & rhizomes down through the landscape fabric and plastic netting that was lining the bottom of the bed. They were all intertwined with each other, spread in a mass across the entire 4x4 area, and they were nearly impossible to separate from each other, much less from all the lining. I ended up just using a garden fork to poke as far down as possible, heaving as hard as I could to pop a section at a time and then using pruners to cut the crowns away from the mass a little at a time. Needless to say, cleaning out that box was a nightmare, but on the positive side, it became my first true ANSFG box. 

All told, I think I ended up with around 20 crowns that I transplanted and heavily mulched. By this time, I was not expecting any to live. I lost a lot of those crowns, but a few did survive. This year is the second spring they've been in their new spot, and I actually harvested a few spears just this week. Most of the plants that did survive are putting up shoots that are too thin to harvest, but I have 5 that are putting up good spears. I have to wonder if those are the original 5, and my rough treatment didn't affect the transplant, but I can't say for sure. I hope these guys will spread out and become a huge established asparagus bed requiring little to no maintenance, that I can enjoy for the next couple of decades.

So, after this very long post, my advice would be - if you decide to do this, be aware that once established, this bed is going to need at least an extra 2 or 3 feet on your aisles for the ferns (even if you can contain them, the mature fronds look like a deciduous tree - the main branch goes up about 2 or 3 feet, then the top 2 or 3 feet is around a 3-5 foot span). Don't fill the box to the top with MM, you will want to leave a few inches of depth for the volume of roots you're going to have to cover. And, make sure the sides of the box are made with good, thick lumber. 

I'm really glad that I grew asparagus, but since my native soil is so conducive to its needs, I wish I had started it in-ground and experienced the joy of the harvest and the beautiful ferns outside of my ANSFG. It might work well for others, especially if your native soil is not a good fit - maybe it would behave better in MM for you, too. I just wanted to share my experience, because had you asked me 5 years ago, I would have told you it was the best thing ever to have in your SFG. Good luck!
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Re: Asparagus

Post  sanderson on 5/11/2018, 3:39 am

Blackjackwidow, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here Thank you for sharing your long time experience with asparagus. Your narrative has valuable information for anyone considering growing them.

We love photos and would welcome you sharing your garden. Hint!

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Re: Asparagus

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/11/2018, 1:05 pm

@sanderson wrote:Blackjackwidow,  Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here  Thank you for sharing your long time experience with asparagus.  Your narrative has valuable information for anyone considering growing them.


Agree.  That was an excellent tutorial!  Thank you!
Mine are not in the SFG but along my driveway.  Oh, and thanks for the reminder that I need to pick my first 4 spears of this year TODAY.  They grow so quickly that I don't want to miss the window.

CC
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Re: Asparagus

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/12/2018, 8:32 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@sanderson wrote:Blackjackwidow,  Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here  Thank you for sharing your long time experience with asparagus.  Your narrative has valuable information for anyone considering growing them.


Agree.  That was an excellent tutorial!  Thank you!
Mine are not in the SFG but along my driveway.  Oh, and thanks for the reminder that I need to pick my first 4 spears of this year TODAY.  They grow so quickly that I don't want to miss the window.

CC

Thanks for the welcome, sanders and CC! I'm really glad you found the post useful. I have a couple of pics I'll share once the forum allows. Smile
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Re: Asparagus

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/12/2018, 9:46 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:
Agree.  That was an excellent tutorial!  Thank you!
Mine are not in the SFG but along my driveway.  Oh, and thanks for the reminder that I need to pick my first 4 spears of this year TODAY.  They grow so quickly that I don't want to miss the window.

CC

Sounds like you have the perfect spot! I harvested enough spears to have one decent serving, missed just one day checking, and now most of them are already too long and thin and starting to open. Oh well, I'll keep checking for some really good ones, but this is sort of year 2, so I still need to let them grow stronger. Hopefully, I will have a good established bed next year and for years after that.
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Re: Asparagus

Post  Debbie Newell on 5/12/2018, 9:56 am

Thanks everyone for the information. I think I will keep an open area for my asparagus in a field type garden. I'm afraid that SFG would be too much extra work for now.
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Excellent Article for Growing Asparagus

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/12/2018, 10:09 am

Debbie - I think that is a great idea! I am still being blocked from posting any links or photos, but I am making this post so that I can update it with the link once allowed. In the meantime, if you do a Google search for "Growing Asparagus at Home MSU Extension", the article should come up. It has some great information on choosing a site. 


Here is the link to our university extension service's article on growing asparagus. I've read many, many articles that give varied ideas on best growing medium, etc. This is the one I consider the best - Oceana County, a bit north of my place, is the asparagus capital - according to the article, they grow almost 10,000 acres of asparagus a year. They even have an asparagus festival every year! These people know their asparagus!
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Re: Asparagus

Post  countrynaturals on 5/12/2018, 12:45 pm

@BlackjackWidow wrote:Debbie - I think that is a great idea! I am still being blocked from posting any links or photos, but I am making this post so that I can update it with the link once allowed. In the meantime, if you do a Google search for "Growing Asparagus at Home MSU Extension", the article should come up. It has some great information on choosing a site. 


Here is the link to our university extension service's article on growing asparagus. I've read many, many articles that give varied ideas on best growing medium, etc. This is the one I consider the best - Oceana County, a bit north of my place, is the asparagus capital - according to the article, they grow almost 10,000 acres of asparagus a year. They even have an asparagus festival every year! These people know their asparagus!
Here's the link: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/resources/growing_asparagus_at_home
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Re: Asparagus

Post  countrynaturals on 5/12/2018, 12:58 pm

That means that fertilizer and irrigation water should be stopped after August 1st.  It takes a great deal of energy from the crown to grow new fern, and after that date there may not be enough day light and warm weather left to allow the plant to make enough new photosynthate to replace the energy lost in growing the fern.

Good to know! Here it means Oct 1, not Aug 1, but still very valuable intel.  thinking
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Re: Asparagus

Post  countrynaturals on 5/12/2018, 1:03 pm

 In general, asparagus is a big user of potassium, uses very little phosphorus other than in the year crowns are set, and uses small amounts of nitrogen. 

Hmmm, I thought asparagus was a heavy feeder. Maybe I should discontinue the rabbit poo and start adding fireplace ashes?

In deep soils, roots often reach 10 feet in depth. 

I doubt if anything could penetrate that deeply here in our rocky soil, but even half that deep would allow us to reduce watering some, which is always a good thing, here.  cheers
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Re: Asparagus

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/12/2018, 1:29 pm

Good article.  Though it makes me wonder if the wood chips I put on the bed last month were a good idea...
thinking
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Re: Asparagus

Post  Turan on 5/12/2018, 3:25 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Good article.  Though it makes me wonder if the wood chips I put on the bed last month were a good idea...
thinking
Why?  It should be high potassium and not very high nitrogen.

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Re: Asparagus

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/12/2018, 3:34 pm

@Turan wrote:
@CapeCoddess wrote:Good article.  Though it makes me wonder if the wood chips I put on the bed last month were a good idea...
thinking
Why?  It should be high potassium and not very high nitrogen.
My concern was that the chips might hold in too much moisture, especially this early in the season...?
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Re: Asparagus

Post  Turan on 5/12/2018, 3:49 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@Turan wrote:
@CapeCoddess wrote:Good article.  Though it makes me wonder if the wood chips I put on the bed last month were a good idea...
thinking
Why?  It should be high potassium and not very high nitrogen.
My concern was that the chips might hold in too much moisture, especially this early in the season...?
O I see now.  The article mentions mulch for weed control but also that it can slow soil warming in the spring and thus a later emergence of spears.  They warn against puddling type water holding, isn't your soil pretty sandy anyways?

The article certainly has a lot to think over.

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