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Vegetable Gardening: Growing Asparagus

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Forum: Vegetable GardeningReplies: 35, Views: 428
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MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 2, 2012
4:12 AM

Post #8951008

I'm planning to pick up some asparagus crowns but in planning where to plant, can someone tell me if I need to dedicate the bed to the asparagus plants or will other veggies, like tomatoes or chili peppers mix in with the asparagus? Thanks for any info.
Garden_Sass
Central, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 2, 2012
4:45 AM

Post #8951030

Asparagus need their own dedicated space. Since this is a long term crop, 10-15 years plus, you don't want to risk harming the root system, the tender shoots or rob nutrients from the ferns that generate energy for next year's spears.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 2, 2012
7:50 AM

Post #8951229

Make sure that you will buy mature roots of Asparagus since it will take 3-4 years for the first good size fruit.
I dream to have a bed dedicated to Asparagus ... it is a time investiment but sure you will get your rewards.
I just need to make sure my DH is not going to make me move again ...
Good luck.
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 3, 2012
5:29 AM

Post #8952498

Thanks for the input.
tarheel2az
Tonto Basin, AZ

January 5, 2012
8:49 PM

Post #8956224

Yep. Dedicated. As the Asparagus matures, the tops get very tall and very wide, completely robbing the sunlight from anything below them.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 5, 2012
9:01 PM

Post #8956233

Mary, two-year old crowns are what you want to plant; those will let you pick a few spears the following year, just a sample, mind you! And yes, give them a dedicated area like you would other perennials, preferable full sun. In your Arizona heat I thing you might could get by in an area that gives them late afternoon shade though.

Have fun!
Shoe
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

January 6, 2012
12:13 AM

Post #8956310

Yes, a dedicated bed and buy a variety that is all male plants because they have the biggest spears.
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 6, 2012
6:14 AM

Post #8956449

Thanks all! Hopefully this weekend I'll find time to get to the nursery...then sweet-talk honey into building me *another* bed. ;-)
tarheel2az
Tonto Basin, AZ

January 6, 2012
7:49 AM

Post #8956578

Horseshoe wrote:. . .. In your Arizona heat I thing you might could get by in an area that gives them late afternoon shade though. . .
Shoe


The ones we have in full sun bear a couple of weeks sooner than the ones in the shade, which in turn bear longer. They do very well both places. Home grown ones are a little sweeter than supermarket ones, I assume because of the freshness.
Frank65
Hallowell, ME

January 7, 2012
7:16 AM

Post #8957943

I have two beds. One has been going for 27 years and the other about 20. Just had some asparagus soup the other night!!!!
derbyhat
Isabel, KS

January 29, 2012
5:58 PM

Post #8987196

I have a bed 6 years old . How I planted... Dig a trench 10 - 12 inch wide x 2 feet deep.Fill bottom 6 inches with compost/dirt mix. For each root, mound dirt mix and spread crowns over it. Another 6 inches of dirt mix. Then a light layer of hay straw. As crowns start to grow add dirt mix until you've reached ground level. Sounds like a major job ( and WOW was it ever! ), but I have spears 1 1/2" wide! And lots of them!
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 30, 2012
4:37 AM

Post #8987635

Thanks derbyhat. I still have not planted the crowns I bought a month (or more) ago. Next weekend for sure.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 10, 2012
2:48 PM

Post #9002123

My two yr old roots got left in the bag last yr, thrown in the garbage, survived til rainwater soaked em and I found 2 roots still living, planted them in my green onions, and I had 2 spears this week from them this year, I think they ar tuff! they took a lot of neglect, chuckl.
Weedwhacker
Bark River (UP), MI
(Zone 4b)

February 11, 2012
6:55 PM

Post #9003494

And preferably plant in a relatively weed-free area.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 13, 2012
2:50 PM

Post #9005505

Oops, I have to move mine, planted about a week ago. I placed them in a bed that I intended them to share. Thanks for the input. This is my first asparagus.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 13, 2012
3:00 PM

Post #9005517

Derbyhat, when you harvest the spears, will they be above ground or you must look down into the trench and uncover the spears?
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 15, 2012
6:08 AM

Post #9007381

derbyhat wrote:... Dig a trench 10 - 12 inch wide x 2 feet deep.


Does this HAVE to be 2 feet deep? Thinking about a raised bed, but I would need to add another layer of boards to get it that deep! In the ground isn't an option of me...

MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 15, 2012
6:31 AM

Post #9007405

TX - I received pretty much the same instructions from another board, although the depth was 18" instead of 24". Fortunately I have an in-ground bed where I can plant them...but first need to relocate the garlic that is growing there. This advise also strongly suggested the bed run east/west for maximum sun. HTH.
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 15, 2012
6:51 AM

Post #9007425

Maybe I can empty my raised bed, dig down as far as I can, and then extend the board height if necessary. The "east-west" deal is not a problem for me. Now I just need to research the soil requirements to do my best to make the plants happy! Oh, and spacing requirements also...
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 15, 2012
7:48 AM

Post #9007496

When I have a little more time I'll copy in her tips...she's very good and smart about all things growing in the garden. Well, I'll try a link, I think it's a free site...brb...

See if this works for you, it's a good discussion.

http://www.phoenixpermaculture.org/forum/topics/planning-an-asparagus-bed?xg_source=activity&id=2008067:Topic:283063&page=1#comments

If not, lmk and I'll copy and paste.
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 15, 2012
8:14 AM

Post #9007544

Thanks, that link worked. Now I'm going back there to read it!!
derbyhat
Isabel, KS

February 24, 2012
5:40 PM

Post #9018872

Hello all asparagus people! Digging a trench in your raised bed is a good idea. T he dirt in the trench should be at ground level by the end of the growing season, so you shouldn't have to harvest out of a trench at all. Also forgot to mention not to harvest the first or second year. Third year harvest lightly. After that be sure to leave some stalks to go to seed on each crown. This helps feed the plant for the next year. My bed runs N/S but it's on the west end of the garden,nothing to obstruct the sun. Going to top dress bed with poop dirt and compost next week. Then cover with wheat straw hay. Should be set for the growing season. I have a severe case of spring fever!

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 24, 2012
6:42 PM

Post #9018932

In the latest issue of "HEIRLOOM GARDENING" by Baker Creek they published a fantastic article just on growing ASPARAGUS.
http://rareseeds.com/magazine/
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 25, 2012
3:25 PM

Post #9019835

Hi, everyone. I planted 4 asparagus plants about 2 weeks ago digging down below my raised bed. The pkg said they were two year old plants. I now have slender plants about 15 " tall coming out of each crown that I planted. Now what do I do?
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 25, 2012
5:56 PM

Post #9020029

Now comes the hard part. Patience! You shouldn't harvest them at all for a couple of years. Just allow the roots to develop. And when the tops get large and unruly fernlike foliage, don't cut them back. Let the foliage die back with frost. The foliage will provide nutrients to the roots. In a couple years, you can start harvesting the young, new growth. But then only harvest about one third of the shoots, still allowing the plant roots to develop further.
good luck ~ Kristi
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 25, 2012
6:08 PM

Post #9020043

Thanks. Pod. This has been on my "to do list" for decades. Im glad to have finally put plants in the ground.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 25, 2012
6:17 PM

Post #9020049

Same here but I still haven't got one of those 'roundtuits'. lol I love it but just can't decide on the right location to plant it.

We had a couple of asparagus beds on the farm growing up. I still crave eating it every spring.
hrp50
Carrollton, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 26, 2012
8:44 AM

Post #9020579

I've decided to start a dedicated bed for asparagus. However, it will be a new bed that hasn't been started yet and probably won't be ready until May. I thought about buying crowns now while they are available so I have them in May. Is it possible to buy and plant the crowns in a temporary bed now and replant them to their final destination in May? I just hate waiting until next January to plant them because it is such a long time from planting to harvest.
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 26, 2012
9:40 AM

Post #9020654

From what I've been told, no hrp. Sorry. And my source said they won't do well if started that late in the year. She also recommends a bed that runs east/west to be optimal. Hope this helps and sorry for the bad news. If you decide to buy now, rather than planting them, keep them wrapped in damp paper towels in a paper lunch sack. Plant and hope. We all do a fair amount of that anyway. :-))))
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

February 27, 2012
4:29 AM

Post #9021506

hrp, I kind of did that. I bought crowns with all the best intentions, and didn't quite live up to my own expectations. I finally planted them sometime in late April or May (IIRC), and expected nothing. They seem to have done fine. In fact, this (year three) will be my first harvest. I hope. I did go in the next year and add new crowns, but they are purple, and the originals green. Both seem okay.
I guess what I'm saying is why not? I wouldn't buy superexpensive crowns, but even if it doesn't work, the bed will be ready next year...
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

February 27, 2012
7:47 PM

Post #9022695

I have moved crowns in September (we don't usually get frost). They were not happy at all and took about a year to recover, but all except one survived. This year I'm digging those out because most are female plants (Mary Washington) and replacing with Jersey Knight and Jersey Supreme (all male).
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 28, 2012
5:34 AM

Post #9022966

I've no idea what I bought, didn't realize there was a difference. How does the difference affect the plants and stalks?

I Googled and found this: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/asparagus.cfm

I'm thinking I should order some male plants, dig up what I planted and start over. What say the group?

This message was edited Feb 28, 2012 6:41 AM
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 28, 2012
8:12 PM

Post #9024050

I wouldn't dig them up and start over, Mary. If you want to add some all male varieties then add them to what you already have so you're not starting at square one again. If having the females in the mix you can easily mark them (they'll have red berries) and pull them out later, leaving a gap which can be filled in with one of your all male choices. Personally, I like having the old Washington strains so I can make more plants from them.

shoe
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

February 29, 2012
4:28 AM

Post #9024245

I'm with Shoe. I like the berries in the fall, and hope they will help my patch increase. Still, if you're all about production, I guess the new varieties would be best. I tend to be more fond of those "heirloom" type veggies that enable me to save seed be sure my garden can continue (and increase) without outside help.
That does not mean I don't obsess over catalogs...
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

February 29, 2012
5:05 AM

Post #9024271

Thanks to both. I'll settle down about the male asparagus plants then...plenty of other stuff to fidget over. :-)
mccaine
Wilmington, NC
(Zone 8a)

March 1, 2012
9:00 AM

Post #9025804

Year 3 asparagus. I may harvest this year but I'm in no hurry because I love how they plume out

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