Ok asparagus growers! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 01-04-2011, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What is a decent size plot?  I have a 9x38 veg garden with 18x9 of space to expand.  I would like to have a seperate asparagus plot, and am thinking 6x9 would be ample.  Set up is landscape timbers raised bed with a mix of native clay, leaves, and commercial compost/soil/soil conditioner/whatever.  I am hoping to plat this february to enjoy in 3 years or so.  Any tips or tricks?

 

Ah, also weed control, we have bermuda grass blech!!!!!

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#2 of 10 Old 01-05-2011, 08:44 AM
 
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subbing :)also, what is the smallest you can grow in? Like container?


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#3 of 10 Old 01-13-2011, 01:21 AM
 
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Asparagus... I'd only go as deep as you can reach in so you can maximize your growing and minimize the weeding - not like you'll be able to really rototill well once you get them planted, you know?  My asparagus patch is 25'x4', and four feet is almost too deep to reach in and grab weeds.  My caveat is that I'm 5'6" and have short arms, but still.  There's only about 85-100 plants in there now - I pulled some up to put in pots when we thought we were moving, and a few just didn't like being transplanted a few times.  They'll be... 4 or 5 years old this harvest season, I forget.  I'll go with 4yo though.  Not sure if the potted ones will make it through the winter - we've had more than our normal 2-3 weeks straight of 0-15* weather, so who knows.
 

Weed control... still working on that one.  I've weeded and re-mulched with 1-2 inches of compost.  #$^&I^% bermuda grass keeps coming in.  Need to work on a better barrier between the lawn and the garden patches, that's on the 1-3 year plan when hubby's actually home during growing season(s).  I can't put down anything like plastic because then the random places the new spears come out would be covered.  I am still trying to figure out where I can plant another 50 purple asparagus plants though.  I have issues.  winky.gif

Container...  I grabbed some 5-7 gallon tree pots from a local nursery for fairly inexpensive.  They're not the prettiest, but they work.  Pain to keep watered as my climate's usually fairly dry during the summer, the black containers don't help, and asparagus is thirsty.  Again, not sure how they'll overwinter in containers.  I shall find out this spring if any survived.


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#4 of 10 Old 01-13-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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I inherited a 15 year old asparagus patch when we bought this new house. I'd say it was about 6 x 12?    What.A.Mess.  It was filled with grass and TERRIBLE burdock.  It has taken 2 years to weed it thoroughly and come to find out most of it was just weeds. I left one small patch maybe 4x4 where there were some still growing.  I don't plan to restock it.  Its way too hard to weed since you can't really dig into it because of new growth. I ended up planting a lot of other stuff in the patch last year and I did have some baby asparagus' poking through here an there.

 

So anyway, I would definitely suggest starting small and narrow.  Lots of upkeep!!! Be very vigilant about keeping the weeds out.

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#5 of 10 Old 01-13-2011, 09:48 AM
 
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Sorry, I have no advice for the OP but wanted to ask DuckDuckGoose and lmonter, how tall does your asparagus get?  Does it do a good job shading out the grass over the summer?  I am preparing to put in a bed, too, and your stories sound discouraging.  We don't have bermuda grass, but I do have many "weed" grasses that flourish here and there.  I'm pretty good about weeding in the spring and fall, but for several reasons I'm much less so during the summer months.


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#6 of 10 Old 01-13-2011, 12:08 PM
 
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Sorry to discourage...... :(   We moved in here at the end of April and I noticed the little asparagus' about 6 inches up. Not long after that, they were completely hidden in the weeds and grass.  I had SO much work to do here that I neglected it and the patch had weeds 5 feet tall by summer.  This past year with very careful and consistent weeding, the asparagus would grow about a foot tall.

Its totally doable, however you have to do a lot of hand weeding since you can't just chop into the soil with a hoe.  So don't plant more than you can handle weeding! :)

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#7 of 10 Old 01-13-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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Yup, I have to hand weed my asparagus alot.  I find it worth it though, as I don't have to weed much else (raised beds, so what I do weed is easy peasy).  My asparagus is 5 yrs old now, or 4, I really don't remember, but it makes nice fat asparagus!  The plot is about 20'x4'.  I planted 24 crowns, and each one has made at least 1-2 more plants as of last Spring.  No telling how much will come up this year!  I'm excited to find out, though.  I clean my rabbitry and dump everything straight onto my beds, including the asparagus.  The asparagus also gets the goat barn stuff.  Lots of hay and pine shavings and lovely poo.  We do deep litter methods w/all our livestock so pee is mostly broken down by the time we put it on. 

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#8 of 10 Old 01-13-2011, 04:04 PM
 
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Gosh, I was going to say no asparagus bed is too big! Obviously make it so you can harvest it easily w/o crushing anything. If you don't have gophers or moles or burrowing squirrels I'd think wide rows of it would be divine. We put ours in an old wooden water tank, about 6' diameter I think? I'm only 5'4" and I manage to harvest the middle, but it isn't always easy I'll admit. As for weeds, if you do good prep on the soil or do it in a raised bed with fresh weed-free soil and maintain that it isn't all too hard imo. Ours getsso bushy by the end that it suffocates out anything else. You could also companion crop it, plant parsley and other friends in with it.  This is year 4 for us if that helps, I grew up watching my grandmother "care" (using the word loosely) for and harvest hers in Maine. It required no work but harvesting! Now THAT'S my kind of crop!  The first few years of our new planting I just composted like crazy, it all breaks down. It doesn't need to be replanted ever -- imo it is my lowest maintenance crop we grow (besides amaranth!haha!). shrug.gif


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#9 of 10 Old 01-14-2011, 12:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mindymom View Post

Sorry, I have no advice for the OP but wanted to ask DuckDuckGoose and lmonter, how tall does your asparagus get?  Does it do a good job shading out the grass over the summer?  I am preparing to put in a bed, too, and your stories sound discouraging.  We don't have bermuda grass, but I do have many "weed" grasses that flourish here and there.  I'm pretty good about weeding in the spring and fall, but for several reasons I'm much less so during the summer months.

Well, that's a loaded question.  My asparagus bed is kind of in the middle-ish of one side of my lawn.  There might be photos somewhere on my blog, I have no idea (I've had to privatize a lot over the years).  The asparagus, when it ferns out to set seed and work on root formation, gets 4-5 feet tall.  Kinda like really-skinny christmas trees, it's a neat sight.  It does overshadow and shade things you plant next to it - I've tried companion planting marigolds and tomatoes and alyssum and such, but they tend to not get much sun at all, which they don't like.  But the grass nearby?  Absolutely loves it.  Not only am I watering the soil around the asparagus (so it seeps elsewhere), but we typically have fairly hot summers so the grass is brown and crunchy by around July (ahem, totally guilty of watering garden and not lawn, it happens).

If I could find some creeping thyme or something that could co-exist with the asparagus that neither would hamper the other, I'd be one happy girl.  Until then, I'm working on weeding, weeding, weeding, and fine-tuning a mulch that works.  


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#10 of 10 Old 01-14-2011, 04:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for everything guys!

 

I have already changed my plan to 2 6x3 beds instead of one bigger one.  I hadn't even thought of the walking in the bed and crushing shoots thing.

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