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Is there a way to keep root bundles viable

 
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A family member bought dozens of the asparagus and strawberry root bundle starter things. They were on clearance because it's freaking June and nobody should be planting this stuff in North Carolina...in June, but I digress. I was wondering if keeping them moist and in a fridge, until it's time to plant them would work, or are they doomed? I hate to throw them away, but I feel like putting them in the ground right now would basically be throwing them away.

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Well, what I did at this time last year when I got a ton of Walmart asparagus crowns on superclearance for $.25 a bag was plant them. Not in the ground, where heat and drought and nibblers and weeds and and and all the things would just make them vanish, but in good soil in containers (old picnic coolers, drilled for drainage) right by my kitchen herb garden water barrel. I planted them super thick — the only goal being to revive them from Walmart dehydration and survive the summer — and three layers deep. And I overseeded with cilantro so I would remember to water daily.  Honestly I thought they were mostly dead anyway.

A BUNCH of them came up and flourished through the summer. Due to me forgetting to build a bed for them last fall, they are still there. Sadly that exposed location was not so good for winter survival, and it looks like only about six or eight made it through the winter. If I can get a bed sorted this year though, it will still be worth the very small money I spent.

Edit: So that was an under-report! I just went and counted. There are 22 asparagus stems in these containers, although many are small.

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Yep. Plant them, somewhere you will water them daily, and keep them shaded, especially during the height of heat, between 10 am and 4 pm, maybe a little earlier in the morning and a little later in the evening where you are.

I would also use shade cloth, if you have any.

Oh, and you can plant them together, and probably with some mint or something. That should deter some pests, and they should bolster each other.

Though I wonder, if these root bundles are ones that freeze solidly in the winter, as those around here do, could you not just toss them all into the freezer until early next season, when the ground is just barely workable?

-CK
 
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Dan Boone wrote:Edit: So that was an under-report! I just went and counted. There are 22 asparagus stems in these containers...



Well, you inspired me to run on down to the Tractor Supply store and see whether there were any left.  Sadly, the box was empty.  But you prove that the giving up point is a lot further down the road than expected.  I'll pay closer attention next time around.

 
James McMahen
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Great ideas!!! I love the containers. I might put some in like that and then freeze a few to see if that works. I have an area that I want to plant like that, but it just isn't a priority right now and I'm being so careful to not rush things and cut corners.

I'll post some pics when I put them in.
 
Dan Boone
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James McMahen wrote:I love the containers.



Container gardening in a hot climate has its problems, but I still do for all kinds of reasons.  Using old coolers (which often go for just a dollar or two at garage sales once they are cracked, broken, missing a lid, or otherwise unaesthetic for food use) helps with one of the biggest problems, which is the extent to which soil in containers can get too hot for the comfort of the plants.  

There would be lots of ways to make insulated planters out of natural materials for folks offended by the plastics, but they would be swift to biodegrade, I think, and a lot of work.
 
Ruth Meyers
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Hey, I did find asparagus crowns on clearance at my local Home Depot.  And they had not been displayed in outdoor racks, with the sun beating them to death.  So, here's hoping!

I was working in my ridgetop gardens this weekend and not very purposefully checked on my own small asparagus plot, started several years ago from bought crowns and volunteers transplanted.  Earlier in the season, I'd been checking, but always only found a few stems already leafed out.  This time, I saw a 1 foot tall stem newly up and not yet unfurled.  I ate the whole thing right there.  I had no idea they produce new stems into June.
 
Ruth Meyers
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So - question.

The package directions recommend a planting depth of 2 inches.  Eric Toensmeier, in his book, Perennial Vegetables, recommends 6 to 8 inches, and then adding a couple more inches of soil over top.  That's a large variance.

What planting depth do you all recommend?  I'm planting in Kentucky.
 
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