Two and a half years ago, I found out that my condo community was going to be destroying a beautiful nearby bit of land in order to build more condos. Unfortunately, there were eight separate asparagus patches that I foraged on this land, with permission, and so I decided this was a huge bummer.
So, again with permission, I decided to take on the task of digging up as many of these asparagus plants as I could in order to bring them up to my parents in Michigan, from Ohio where I now reside. I knew it was going to be a lot of work but I had no idea what I had in store for me. Working with a defunct shovel under the blazing sun in the hard, sometimes cement ridden, sometimes clay ridden, shadeless soil, I began my two months of hell.
I have Lupus and it affects my central nervous system, but I'm only (now) 38yrs and for a thin female, actually pretty strong so no biggie, right?
I'm also a ginger, which means the sun hates me.
Anyhow, long story short, I spent the next 1.5 - 2 months going out to the field and digging. I would take gallons of water with me so I could dump it where I was digging to help soften the soil what I could ( though it equally had the negative impact of making carrying the water-heavy crown the two hundred yards to my vehicle that much harder). It was during a pretty big drought and the hardness of the ground was something of nightmares. I managed to dig up as much length - and as many of - the tubers as I could get on each plant, and mind you all these plants, from what I was told since it used to be an old farm, were 20 plus years old. I know that they say the average span is 15yrs but these suckers were around longer than that.
Some spears were OVER AN INCH AND A HALF in circumference...yet tasted absolutely amazing, with spectacular texture.
Some of the plants I dug down up to four feet, and about three feet around. Some I wasn't able to get that much. One of them I had the construction crew use their equipment to lift it out of the dirt and in to the back of my poor, poor Jeep because I'd been working on that puppy (that when inspecting of property the crew head dumped 2 feet of dirt on but somehow the following year the Spheres still find a way to shoot up, though that meant I had an extra 2 ft of dirt to dig through).
Because I live in a condo and because I wasn't able to make the 5-hour drive up to my parents anytime soon, I went and watered and fertilized the dirt, which I tried to keep as much dirt on the tubers as possible, and put them in giant, heavy plastic bags, and stored them in my spare bedroom over the winter. Occasionally I would go up and check on them, dump some water on the tubers and seal them back up, though I was concerned about mold forming and on a few a bit did but it wasn't that big of an issue. While they were in my spare bedroom many of them continue growing and let's just say I had quite a bit of cleaning to do in that room after removing all of them.
Last Spring, I brought them up to my parents home and we planted them - ELEVEN GIANT CROWNS, each "clump" weighing on average 100lbs, though two weighed closer to 175lbs (yeah, to this day I still have no idea how I managed to get them down the stairs and in to my vehicle but it's a good thing walls can't talk because there's probably a special place for people who say the naughty things that came out of my mouth that day, and I don't think I would enjoy it). They were SO excited and planned ahead, preparing the soil to ideal conditions. They did their research!
While a few stragglers came up last year they were nothing to write home about...
... but this year they really created smile and relief. Seven of the eleven plants came through beautifully. They chose not to harvest any of them, though many of them were quite large around. A wise decision. They may or may not give them next year to grow and fern as well.
But what of the other four? Two of them we were pretty concerned about as they seemed quite dried out but one of the ones that's thriving this was even worse off than those two. I know plants can be finicky and they all have their own personalities so this doesn't surprise me but I guess my question is...
Is there still a chance these four will grow?
I found that asparagus is quite a resilient plant and stubborn as heck. Is it possible that there's still hope for them? My parents are going to wait one more year before utilizing that space by digging up the crowns so as to plant something else in the bare spots, but I want to know if there's even a point in waiting??
It would be rather doubtful that those four made it through the ordeal since they didn't send up shoots this year but the others did.
However, crowns can be surprising so I don't think it would hurt a thing to wait one more year just to be sure they didn't make it.
If they don't send up shoots next year, it could be determined they didn't survive the ordeal.
depth of planting crowns is supposed to match what they came out of, it might be they are currently either too shallow or too deep.
Warmth of the soil is another factor in crowns sending up their shoots, and then there is the shock factor.