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Asparagus farm?

 
Tyler Ludens
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Asparagus is the only conventional vegetable which has survived the drought for me with no care.  It grows well here in our somewhat alkaline clay loam yet I don't know if there are any local asparagus farms.  If I were to try growing asparagus for sale, how do I calculate how much to plant?  I want an annual income of about $1500 from it.  I would be the only person working this farm.  Sales would be to neighbors and from a farm stand or possibly to a restaurant in town.

How much can I expect to earn per plant or per square foot?
 
Ken Peavey
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Selling to a select group of friends and neighbors, I can see $3-4/# being the right price.  Going with the $3/# price, you will need 500# to meet your sales target.  You can provide your own information concerning the production rate per plant in your growing conditions.  Increase that by 10-20% to account for problems.  Do some math to come up with how many plants you will need.

I hope you do well on your project.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you, that's helpful information. 

Looks like I'll need somewhere between 1/10 and 1/5 of an acre of intensively grown plants to meet my goal.  Starting costs will be high unless I grow my own baby plants from seed.

I think I'll start with a more modest goal and gradually add area over the next few years, this will reduce the cost and difficulty of producing baby plants. 

 
Brian Bales
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I started my patch (45 feet by 3 feet) with starts I purchased from ebay a few years back. They are for sell pretty cheap in the spring. Cost me about $15 with shipping. Now if I wanted I could divide that bed up into two 45 x 3 beds.
 
Tyler Ludens
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That's useful information:  I had not thought to divide my existing bed which is about 9 years old. 

 
John Polk
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Asparagus beds are most commonly expanded by division.  If your plants are now 9 years old, you could greatly expand such mature plants.

Asparagus always seems to be a highly sought after crop, and even at peak production, always brings a good price.

Surplus can be canned...pickling is a tasty way to add off season flavor to salads.
 
Brian Bales
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Seems like a 9 year old bed will have the makings of some significant expansion but I'm wondering what companions you'd want to use with your asparagas? Isn't' it considered a heavy feeder? Maybe you can come up with some other marketable crops to interplant with your new beds?
 
                                
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Borage is a good one to interplant with asparagus, is self seeds so will always come up and you can cut & drop as mulch n feed, comfrey too.
and tomatoes do well in asparagus beds, along with basil so lots of things could be going in what would otherwise be a quiet asparagus bed.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks for those suggestions.  Borage does well here sometimes, though comfrey died for me. 
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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In my garden, I get about 1/2 pound of asparagus per plant. The soil is clay and it is only slightly dry.

On my acreage, I only get 2-3 large spears per plant, and those plants are the same age. The soil is sandy, which means that it holds less water.

If I wanted to figure out how many pounds of asparagus I get off of my acreage I would go to the grocery store and count the number of spears in a pound. My spears are fatter than grocery store spears but I could get a pretty good idea.

I origionally got my roots from www.morgancountyseeds.com, and the roots were in excellent condition when they arrived, as well as being unusually large.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you!    I'll probably have to grow most of my plants from seed since I will need a few hundred of them, but I do plan to buy some different varieties as crowns.

 
Tyler Ludens
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I've decided my initial trial will be in part of the old vegetable garden, about a third of which will still be the new prairie garden.  This is where my original planting of asparagus still resides, doing well in spite of the drought.  It looks gorgeous now with fresh new foliage from our smallish Fall rains.  I'll be dividing these plants and moving them to the new "asparagus farm" area as that becomes ready for planting.  The "asparagus farm" trial is going to be about 1800 square feet.
 
                            
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Do just think about selling to individuals but a local ?Gourmet? Restaurant might be a good seasonal client as well.
 
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