The shameful thing happened: my 8 asparagus plants that were thriving last year failed to emerge this spring. Any thoughts? I planted them 3 years ago, they were doing well, this year: the bed is empty. They were in a bed with concord grapes, rhubarb, strawberries and very deep-planted glads that I don't bother to dig up in the fall. Everything else is up and thriving, no asparagus.
The way this year has been,you might give them a little more time. My hibiscus are just emerging and I thought they were dead. I've never grown asparagus,but have seen it here and there at old homeplaces and it seems pretty tough. I can't imagine the other stuff in your bed surviving and the asparagus not. Other than that,I can't be of any help.
Don't give up on them yet. Asparagus beds are known to live many years. Some at historical homes are over 100 years old and still thriving.
I started my first one several years ago and just made a new one last year. The older more established one is up and I am munching fresh asparagus while working in my garden. The new one is just now peeking out of the ground.
They are very heavy feeders and must have manure compost added each year. During the winter when there is no chance of damage, add lots of compost. I have found thru experiments that they seem to do better if in a bed by themselves. When other plants are added they take away a lot of nutrients. Other heavy feeders should not be planted with them.
I don't know about your asparagus but several plants which would normally be up and going strong by now are just peeking there heads up. Most notably the lemongrass. A 3 year old planting of Asparagus should be fine
Thank you all! I looked again today, and still no asparagus. I do mulch my bed: 3" of chopped leaves in the fall, and 3" of compost in the spring. When I put the compost on last week is when I realized they weren't up! My neighbor has had asparagus for 3 weeks; another neighbor has had hers up for a month. And I was really hoping!
But I will wait another month before giving up hope. Maybe now that it has actually warmed up it might start to grow like crazy!
I just planted my asparagus bed last year. I dug a trench 6 inches deep. I planted crowns, seedlings and seeds. Over the summer I slowly filled in the trench as the crowns/plants/seeds grew. The trench is still pretty much sloped, as I still need to fill in more around the one's I planted from seedlings and seeds. I do have ground starting to crack and break away as the shoots start to emerge from the crowns, seedlings and seed starts. I will continue to fill in around last years seedlings and seed starts until the ditch is eventually level with the area where I planted the crowns.
I chose to try all three ways of starting the bed so I could see how they all did for me. So far, so good.
Kimberley, I guess how many plants you need to feed two people would depend on how much you like asparagus. I planted 25 crowns, 12 seedlings and a package of seeds. DH and I are the only ones who like asparagus so I'm thinking if all this continues to grow, we will have enough to feed the SW part of the county.
Judging from my friends established asparagus garden, after you quit cutting them, they grow very tall. They are taller than my 5'4" anyway. She even shades newly potted plants amongst them in late summer. In the spring, she cuts all the old stalks down before the new shoots start emerging. She just did this last week, since we've had a very late spring. She said to leave them up over the winter so they can catch snow for spring moisture to get them going again. She side dresses with a bag of purchases cow manure each spring.
I don't know if this is the right way or not, but it seems to be working wonders for her, so that's what I'm going to do with mine.
Just remembered another thing she said. She told me they hate being mulched. Again, this method may not work for another part of the country, but since it works for her, I think it should work for me too. We are in zone 3/4.
This message was edited Saturday, May 25th 1:03 AM
Kim, I planted about a dozen crowns for DH and me. I only like fresh asparagus, so I don't intend to try to freeze or can any extra, and this will give us enough to eat when it's ripe.
JoanJ, you might try a (fluffed up) 6" layer of straw over your asparagus bed, which will soon mat down to about 2". Keep this amount on there all the time, and pull back some of it in early spring to let a portion of your asparagus shoot up earlier as the ground warms. By keeping your bed mulched, the ground won't crack, you don't have to keep it weeded all summer, and as this mulch breaks down, it will enrich your soil - just keep piling more on as the old stuff breaks down.