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Sun Feb 23, 2014, 10:35 PM

Where can I plant my asparagus patch?

We're going to bite the bullet this year and start an asparagus patch even though it will be at least two seasons before we can enjoy the yummy fruits of this year's labor. Now we just have to decide where this will be. So few options, none of them very good!

Option A: In the front, under the big, old pine tree
I know, I know, asparagus needs full sun! But this space is SW facing and gets at least 8 hours of sun from early June through September. The drawback about under the pine is that asparagus needs a good 12" bed. I don't want to dig down a foot and damage the pine roots, but then, I don't want to build a foot high bed over the roots and damage them from lack of oxygen. Could I dig down 6" and put a 6" raised bed on it without damaging the pine roots?

Option B: Along the north side of the driveway
This area is very arid, incredibly sunny and drains very well. The biggest drawbacks are lack of easy water access (too far away from any outside spigots for any hose to reach it so it would all have to be hand-watered) and also, it's kind of near where my SO parks (so exhaust fumes - ick).

Option C: Someplace else in the yard
The problem with anywhere else in the yard is dogs and their pooping or play spaces/access to other raised beds/too much shade.

What would YOU do?

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Where can I plant my asparagus patch? (Original post)
intheflow Feb 2014 OP
elleng Feb 2014 #1
intheflow Feb 2014 #2
elleng Feb 2014 #3
NJCher Feb 2014 #4
intheflow Feb 2014 #7
randr Feb 2014 #5
intheflow Feb 2014 #6
randr Feb 2014 #8
Botany Feb 2014 #9
NJCher Feb 2014 #10
Botany Feb 2014 #11
bvar22 Feb 2014 #12
intheflow Feb 2014 #13
bvar22 Feb 2014 #14
intheflow Feb 2014 #15

Response to intheflow (Original post)

Sun Feb 23, 2014, 10:50 PM

1. Dunno,

but my folks had a vacation house/cottage in Vermont for a few years. It came with a kitchen garden spot, east-facing, and a well-established asparagus patch. Consider it was Vermont, had full sun, and only natural watering, no hosing as I recall. The asparagus were great their first year and subsequent years.

Good luck!

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 23, 2014, 10:53 PM

2. I'm in Colorado.

In a desert-plains region. Relying on natural water alone won't work here.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 23, 2014, 10:54 PM

3. Sorry.

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Response to intheflow (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2014, 09:35 AM

4. I wouldn't do it

I hope you haven't bought your asparagus starts yet.

I have ideal conditions for asparagus and do not find it a worthwhile venture. Yes, it's pretty; yes, it tastes good, but there is never enough for even a serving for two because of the usual garden problems of things ripening at different times.

I only buy my asparagus now.


Cher

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Response to NJCher (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 24, 2014, 09:58 AM

7. My boyfriend brought one home theother day.

Which is when I started researching it and discovered we need a gazillion more. I'm beginning to reconsider this plan. Looked up how deep the roots go - could grow as long as 10'! That takes the pine tree area out of the equation, the pine roots will be far too dense to allow that kind of growth. Maybe next year we'll build a dedicated bed for asparagus, but I think I'm hanging the idea up for this year. And maybe forever, given your experience and the fact I'll need at least 20 plants, maybe 30 to get any kind of good crop return. Egads, we may have to take the garage down to have that kind of room. Sigh.

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Response to intheflow (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2014, 09:46 AM

5. Colorado has an abundance of wild asparagus

I have found asparagus all over Colorado along rural lanes. Mostly next to fence lines and irrigation ditches.
Asparagus, as you noted, requires well drained soil. It does survive drought conditions as evidence by its wildness.
It is a root shoot crop and requires several years to develop an adequate patch and you need a relatively undisturbed area to let it do its thing.
Do you have a fence line or border that could be used?

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Response to randr (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 24, 2014, 09:53 AM

6. Both my option areas are fence lines.

Well, property lines. I've heard it grows wild here but I've never seen it in my area. I'm about 40 miles north of Denver, about 40 miles east of the Front Range. We don't have a lot of irrigation ditches on publicly accessible land. But I think I'll keep looking. Free wild asparagus is sounding more attractive than planting some right about now!

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Response to intheflow (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 24, 2014, 11:14 AM

8. Look for 2 to 3 foot tall light brown spiny bushes against fence lines

Some may have very red berries usually in the fall.

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Response to intheflow (Original post)

Tue Feb 25, 2014, 03:24 AM

9. Area B

Double dig the area and work in lots of organic matter and composted manure.
A couple of 50 lbs bags play sand ..... silica sand might help too.

Espoma plant tone and some "soil moist" wetting polymers will also help too.


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Response to Botany (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 25, 2014, 10:36 AM

10. thanks, botany

I was about to add that an asparagus patch is one helluva lot of work. I worked my tuchus off and was so disappointed with my return on investment.

Now, having said that, I just bought two bunches of asparagus for $1.97 each. I roasted them in the oven in sesame oil and today chopped some up for a morning omelet. Put mozzarella balls on the inside and warmed up a tortilla.

Totally out of this world.



Cher

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Response to NJCher (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 25, 2014, 11:31 AM

11. Growing asparagus isn't hard but you have to wait 2 to 3 years until you

.... can harvest it. The important thing is to spend the time and energy
in getting the planting bed ready, hoeing out weeds, cutting them back to
about 6" in the fall, and then when it is cold enough mulching the plants w/
some compost. A few minutes a week with a hoe or cultivator during the
growing season in your asparagus patch will pay off big time. If you do it
right and give the plants the needed time you should get lots of produce
every year.

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Response to intheflow (Original post)

Wed Feb 26, 2014, 04:38 PM

12. Full sunlight.. along a fence line.

Our beds are now 5 years old, and we couldn't be happier.
Low maintenance....high rewards.

Harvesting Asparagus.... It just seems so WRONG!

http://www.democraticunderground.com/11593181



We pig OUT on fresh Asparagus for 6 weeks during the Spring,
and then just let them grow,
a little water if it gets too dry.
So far, no bugs, blights, or diseases have caused us any problem.
Very Low Maintenance.

However, Asparagus can grow surprisingly tall... over 6',
and get in the way for the rest of the Summer.
Thus, the recommendation to plant along a fence line.


It grows so thick that it is practically self-weeding.
When it turns brown in the Fall,
we cut the stalks,
remove any weeds that have found their way in,
add some leaf mulch on top,
and then wait till the next Spring.

Good Luck,
and happy eatin.
Your own Fresh Cut Asparagus will be orders of magnitude tastier
than anything you can buy at any super market,
or even the best Farmers Markets.


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Response to bvar22 (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 26, 2014, 11:34 PM

13. Is that the entirety of your bed?

How many plants is that? What are the dimensions of that bed, and what's its yield? That looks downright manageable. And really... the dream is or that perennial yummy goodness with very little output.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #13)

Thu Feb 27, 2014, 01:24 PM

14. That is our first bed,

....and it was started with 10 - 15 (IIRC) Jersey Giant crowns that were already 2 years old,
so we able to take a few spears that next Spring.
They are available online... or I have even seen them for sale at WalMart.
Recommended planting is during Early Spring.

The raised bed is 10' X 4' which produces enough to allow 2 adults to eat fresh asparagus every night.
Since then, we doubled the length to 20' and seeded the new addition with seeds from our original bed.


The pine boards we used need to be replaced every 3 - 4 seasons.
Treated Pine will last a few more seasons,but there is still a lot of controversy about using the new treated lumber.
We are planning to use cinder blocks for more permanence next time.

Our garden location is on an open hilltop susceptible to high winds,
so we added the posts and ropes to keep high winds blowing them over.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 27, 2014, 08:37 PM

15. Wow, that sounds much more reasonable than

a lot of web sites I'e been reading. Most say we should have 15-20 plants for each adult! The one my SO bought was from Home Depot, so I know they're available from a lot of places. I still may not do it this summer. I'm starting back for another degree and we're expanding and building four beds bed this spring as it is. But 10' x 4' is sounds even fairly easy to water by hand, and the ideal place would be along that fence line. So I think I'll plan it in earnest for next year. You give me hope, bvar. Thank you!

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