Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Planting Asparagus Year One

Growing asparagus was one of the idea's I have for behind the barn. The area behind the barn. This area has haunted me for 15 years. I have done many many project up there. But let us stick to the project at hand Planting Asparagus.

 The first thing to do is get the area ready. I used one of my home made semi-raised gardens. This was made with a little recycled wood and compost I made here.

Planting Asparagus is going to be a lengthy hobby/task. I have never seen or planted this vegetable and I am really looking forward to the results. Waiting is not something I do well with but the area needs to be planted with things that do well year after year and can handle the California summer sun.

Now it is time to prep the soil. I made a little trench about 6" deep running along the bed. I only planted one row but if you plant several make them 4 to 5 feet apart to allow growing room. Add a little phosphate fertilizer prior to planting. The soil for asparagus should be cultivated to not be so rich in natural acid that is a problem here in Southern California but it can be worked out by adding natural compost or manure.  It can take you up to a year to get the soil just right.

Here is the tricky part. Do not start your asparagus from seed it is too tricky. You need good roots for the asparagus to take charge and get going. Notice I bought year old crowns. They come in a bundle when in season.You will need both male and female there is a difference. Most bundles will give you both. The female have more berries. Also the female produce larger spears.

So the picture above showed my one year old asparagus spears. The one year old spears do better than even the two year old you will find. So stick with the year old spears. Make sure you plant them where you will keep them they are hard to move once they are two years old.

 Place your crown in the treanch and cover with about 3 inches of soil. Let the new plants grow through that soil for about 6 weeks and then add another 3 inches. Kind of like potatoes. Then once the plants have gone dormant in late fall fill the trenches the rest of the way. Did you know an asparagus bed has the life span of up to 50 years. That is done mostly by small farmers like us who just have one bed.

Spread the roots over the trench and spread them so they have plenty of room to grow. Now cover them with 3 inches of soil. Make sure your area has good drainage. Let the stem be sxposed.

Water and after 2 weeks cover the stem with 3 more inches of soil. Mulch.

Patience that is all I can say this is a great thing to plant and forget. OH do water it!

It took my stems about 5 weeks to begin to sprout. they look like little fussy tree's. So cute!Once it is established and after the first year cut the little stocks down in Fall you will know it is time because it will wilt and you will have your first dead foliage. Congrats! Once it rolls around to the second year side dress the bed with compost and mulch and again cut dead foliage in late fall.

I am not-going to jump ahead of this little project. I will post year two and harvest when it happens, once we get closer to something sprouting up in the bed. So far my bed has four of the original six stocks grew. But I have to say one of the plants is a little runt that has dead foliage on it and will more than likely end up being the biggest.

This picture is September when they grew all summer. Looks like a little fern. xoxo

Helpful links Asparagus in the Home Garden - Old Farmers Almanac

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