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where, how and when to plant asparagus?

 
Lena Zett
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hi,

I am wwoofing in New Zealand at the moment and my host (not really any knowledge about organic/permaculture planting and stuff though) would like to plant asparagus. The plants are in a pot at the moment and about 30 to 40 cm high. She want's them to transplant into a bed. The bed is shady and doesn't get much sun during the day. The soil is a bit sandy. The property lies directly at a big river, so it is humid as well. We don't have good own-made kompost here but bought two bags of organic compost.

My question is, how does asparagus like to grow, what does it need, is it a plant which needs a lot of nutrients? Does it like sun or shade? When is the right time of the year to plant it? Also I would like to know, how to transplant it - how deep has the hole to be, how deep does it want to sit in the soil etc....

Thanks a lot

Lena
 
Tyler Ludens
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Asparagus is one of the few plants which survived our severe drought last summer. I thought it had died, but it was only dormant and came up when it rained again. I'm growing it in full sun, with almost complete neglect (no irrigation, mulch every other year or so). I imagine it would do better with some water, nice fertile soil, and a nice mulch. I recently divided my old bed of asparagus and replanted by placing the crowns on the surface of the soil and covering with maybe 3- 4 inches of soil and some mulch. Seems to be growing ok. From my experience I think you could plant it almost anywhere and it would do fine. Anywhere nicer than a desert, anyway.



 
Matt Smith
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Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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As I understand it, sandy soil is a bonus.

I bought the some leftover crowns on clearance from my local greenhouse last year at the end of the season, then waited too long to plant them, and then accidentally planted them in too shallow of soil. They still came up the same year, and most of them survived and are producing various sized stalks this year (including some biggies). Respect for a plant that can thrive despite benign neglect.

I'd like to put in a more permanent patch, but the garden infrastructure isn't that far along yet.
 
Lena Zett
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thanks guys, that already helped a lot. I think we'll just try in that patch then cheers!
 
Lena Zett
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I now tried to get the asparagus out of the pot. The first 5 to 10 cm in the soil the asparagus seems to be a single stem, but then it ends in a complex root system. I don't know if I destroy the plant if I just get that single bit and plant it into the soil... does anyone know how to do that? But with the whole root-system I wouldn't know how to separate them...

thanks again!

Lena
 
Tyler Ludens
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If the plant is several years old there will be several smaller root balls all wadded together, that you can tear apart with your hands, but if the plant is young it might be just one root system.
 
Rob Meyer
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Any thoughts on planting asparagus in straw bales? I've heard squash and potatoes do well in them, but I'm not sure about asparagus...
 
P Thickens
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Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Asparagus is a marsh plant. It's one of the few that will survive mildly salty floods. They like 7-8 hours of sun a day.

It appreciates being buried fairly deep in the soil, as if it were regularly inundated with silt. Most of the recommendations I've heard have been to put the dormant rootballs in trenches 10-12 inches deep, leaning up against mounds in the trench. Cover the roots, keep moist; when shoots come up, gradually backfill the trench.

 
Matt Smith
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Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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P Thickens wrote:Asparagus is a marsh plant. It's one of the few that will survive mildly salty floods. They like 7-8 hours of sun a day.

It appreciates being buried fairly deep in the soil, as if it were regularly inundated with silt. Most of the recommendations I've heard have been to put the dormant rootballs in trenches 10-12 inches deep, leaning up against mounds in the trench. Cover the roots, keep moist; when shoots come up, gradually backfill the trench.



Hmmm... high nitrogen requirements and tolerates salt? Sounds like I need to be peeing on my asparagus beds. I got your mildly salty flood, right here!
 
Robin Hones
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Salt and Silt............ haha

 
Matt Smith
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Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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Robin Hones wrote:Salt and Silt............ haha



Silt is in the second paragraph. Salt is in the first. I may pee everywhere, no matter what.
 
P Thickens
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Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Matt Smith wrote:
Robin Hones wrote:Salt and Silt............ haha



Silt is in the second paragraph. Salt is in the first. I may pee everywhere, no matter what.


Well... just keep yer shoes dry, eh?

But seriously... slightly salty soil will help keep weeds down, too.
 
Patrick Mann
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That would explain why some folks advise throwing a handful of rock salt on the asparagus bed.

Of course, as with most gardening advice, there are others who caution against using salt:
"Do not use salt as a weed killer. It will not harm the asparagus, but it inhibits water penetration in the soil. Also, rains can leach the salt out of the asparagus bed and into the rest of the garden, injuring other vegetables that are less salt tolerant than asparagus. "
 
Rob Meyer
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Also, asparagus are known to be great companion plants for tomatoes, which from my understanding does not prefer salty soil, so if you want to plant them together, keep the salt out.
 
Alex Ames
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Location: Georgia
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I have had some success with asparagus but this years crop is coming in very thin.
So I have punted. I put on a generous layer of compost and mulched it in and I am
letting it go to ferns in hopes it can build up some strength for future years.


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Brenda Groth
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asparagus is one of those things that will still be growing 100 years later once the farm has been gone..it is so dang hardy you can hardly kill it and it is so easy to plant.

there are tons of advice out there..but I'll tell you what.

2 years ago in spring i had quackgrass in my asparagus patch..it was warm and dampish and the asparagus was coming up..but I had to dig out that quackgrass sometime so I attacked it in spring when it was just starting to grow..I dug up the entire patch..trying not to damage the asparagus..but honestly..i ended up having to replant so many roots it was pathetic..

that was the BEST crop of asparagus I had ever had, and the following year too..so I don't worry so much about it any more..

it love to be fed..but I basically just sheet compost all the organics I can find over my entire gardens..so it gets what it gets..I also try to put some composted dairy manure on it when I have it avail (have to truck it in and truck is dead)..

but it is a crop that ..if you love it will very much love you back !
 
2016 PDC and Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs http://richsoil.com/pdc
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