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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Asparagus

I'm not a fan of the asparagus, though many members of my family love them. They have asked that I grow them, so my third degree questioning of my poor neighbor was for all of us. I'm still not going to eat them.

I walked over to the neighbors, lucky for me, he was outside tending horses.

"How does your asparagus grow?"

He looked confused, as if I had actually said, "purple elephants fly yellow umbrellas before squashing pussy cats."

"Your asparagus, what do you do to get them to grow."

His face finally lit up, he understood. Now we could communicate.

Here is what he told me, it is not verbatim because I had to ask questions and things got out of order. If I posted it as is, it might make us sound like we were a little tipsy;

Get one year old roots, starting from seed is possible but difficult. Choose one side of your garden, keeping them together. The spot should be free from shade, and have rich soil, deep and well drained. The one side location is so that the permanence of your crop will not be bothered by the cultivation of the rest of your garden.

As soon as the ground can be worked, dig a trench about 1 foot deep and 10 inches wide where the first row will stand. At the bottom of this, you should place about 3 inches of mature compost hummus, or well rotten manure. Mix it into the dirt at the bottom of the trench {the garden claw comes in handy for this}. The next row should be about 4 feet away.

your one year old crowns should be placed 18 inches apart, and 10 inches below garden level. Cover the crowns with 2 inches of sifted hummus and watered well. During the summer, fill the trench slowly with a mix of fine topsoil and compost. Don't fill too quickly, asparagus won't grow well, it stifles them.

After planting, asparagus will thrive for many years with little care. Keep the weeds out, keep trees away and add organic material liberally every year.

It is a good idea to have a cover crop planted after cutting season, like soy. this should be planted in between the asparagus rows.

If good growth occurs the first year, cut the shoots carefully the following spring. But better if you wait another year. The spears should be cut when they are 6 inches high. Cut the base at ground level.

Mulch well in the winter, remove in spring. And Carefully cultivate around the rows.

Chickens are great for insect control.

There you have it, from my neighbors mouth to your eyes.

6 comments:

Kilgor said...

Good write up. Thanks!

I'm guessing from the palm trees and mountains that isn't a picture of your neighbor's crop in Kansas!

lisa said...

Sounds like all the same stuff I do, except mulch. Basically I just topdress with horse manure every year, and the plants do the rest.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

You are making me hungry. I am going to tell Stephanie to put some in too...

Stephanie said...

Just so you know my husband sent me an email. The subject line was "You Must" Then he left me a link to this. (As if I don't already read every post!)

It is on my list. A woman can only accomplish so many things in one season! :)

april said...

Dang! I lack the space and amount of sun for this.

Phelan said...

Those aren't mountains they're storm clouds, and the trees are just growing funny from all that Kansas wind. ;)

Lisa, either way, it seems like a lot of work.

Tim, leave the woman alone!

Stephanie, rotflmao! Poor thing.

April, if it was me, I wouldn't be so dissapointed. :D

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