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Asparagus newby

 
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I was watching a YouTube video on mistakes people make when growing asparagus.  I'm into my 2 or 3 year. He said it's important to remove the female plants when they grow seeds.  I thought that makes sense. Went to do that and it seems like most of the stalks have seeds.  It worries me a bit to cut down most of the stalks this early.
I just want to confirm this is what is best course for action.
Thanks
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I might as well bring up the next part that has me worried.  The same video said the roots can go down 6'. My asparagus is in a raised bed. It 3' deep.   So far it's doing very well in this bed. Just wondering what you all think the long term process might be.

I'm wondering if I should buy some new asparagus and build a new bed just in case.  I was thinking I could build a short bed with wire walls that go into the ground a couple of feet.  Then the roots can go as deep as they want, but at least the crown and top couple of feet of roots will be protected from gophers.   In hope that gopher damage won't kill it.
Thanks
 
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Hello Jen, I inherited my asparagus bed at the community garden that was was planted almost 9 years ago from seed so has a mixture of males and female plants.

If you bought your crowns, they ought to have been only males.

The soil at the gardens is not very deep, it used to be a river bed so the soil is less than a foot deep over gravel.

It is also over run with couch grass which has creeping rhizomes that are almost impossible to get rid of.

The female plants have much thinner spears than the male plants but to be honest, the thin spears taste just as good as the males and the berries are a bonus to me - the asparagus self seeds.

One of the male spears that grew last season was ridiculously thick, I left it to grow and hopefully pollinate some of the female plants.

As for the shallower soil, I mulch heavily with well rotted chicken/ horse/sheep manure topped with wood chips once the crowns die down in an attempt to keep the grass down (not always successfully).

The asparagus manages to push through the grass despite the thin layer of soil and the female plants produce just as well as the males but we don't have gophers to contend with here.

If you want to plant another bed, go for it but if you don't have the space or inclination, I wouldn't bother.

I personally wouldn't dig up the female plants, I'd be collecting the seeds to start more plants for another bed.

Many of my asparagus plants have seeds on them at the moment so I'll try to remember to take some photos to post.

I don't know that you can ever grow too much asparagus, it feels really decadent making asparagus soup and so lovely to be able to share with friends.

 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks Megan.  You got me thinking, and I think you are right. I think I bought the asparagus as baby plants from a nursery.  I try to write things down, because I know my memory is terrible, just like I not sure how long ago I planted them. (I can figure it out if I look through my permies posts.). Anyway I have a bunch that are growing seeds. I don't remember them having seeds last year. Maybe I didn't notice, but I didn't do anything for them but water. I didn't realize until early spring that I was supposed to cut the dead stuff back.  Luckily it seems to be pretty forgiving for my mistakes.
It seems like you are telling me there's enough room for the roots, so that's good.
I may still add an in ground asparagus bed. Will see if I can get to it in time.  I'm constantly adding to my garden, it's a sickness really.  Maybe if I don't get to it, I can get it done and plant bare root this fall. Because you are right, can't have to much asparagus. Thanks.
 
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Megan Palmer wrote:

The female plants have much thinner spears than the male plants but to be honest, the thin spears taste just as good as the males and the berries are a bonus to me - the asparagus self seeds.



Never thought that way.
But if they self seeding are the roots going deep enough on their own, or do you replant the crowns later into deeper holes?

I grew up in Lower Saxony (Germany) in the area where Asparagus is mainly produced  but never heard about keeping female plants.
 
Megan Palmer
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Jen, the female asparagus plants has tiny little red berries and the seeds inside are black. Is that how your plants look? Still don't have photos to post, will get some this week.

You could always harvest some seeds and grow them in pots for the first year or so before transplanting to a permanent in ground bed.

My asparagus survived total neglect for two seasons, it was totally overrun with overgrown couch grass and the asparagus could not be seen. I genuinely thought that the plants were lost.

I have never cut back the fronds, just leave them to die back naturally as I find the dead stalks are useful markers of where the spears will emerge when the grass inevitably grows too high😉

The main reason for cutting back the fronds seems to be if your have asparagus beetle which overwinters in the stalks. Fortunately, it's not a pest in our garden. Slugs are the main pest for us.

The self seeded plants seem to survive despite my neglect, I know that they are self seeded as the new fronds are much finer and shorter than growth from established crowns.

I'll poke a stick in the ground to try to figure out the depth of the soil in the asparagus area and let you know.

Constantly adding to your garden is an excellent sickness🥰

See Hes, I don't dig up and replant the self seeded plants, they seem to just grow fine.

I didn't know that female plants are meant to be removed so it never occurred to me to do so. Next season will try to remember to take some photos of the spears from the male and female plants for a comparison of size.

If growers usually dig up the female plants in Lower Saxony, how do they propagate new plants?

 
See Hes
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My Aunt and all farmers are focussing on the best quality and thick stems.
A potential Plant with best properties will be dug out and the crowns getting split in 2-4 pieces (depend on size) and so produce new plants with all the same properties.
Planting time is there springtime.

They call it in German "Stockteilung" but Google translate is here not much of a use to find the right English word for it.
I assume its "root propagation".

Off course there are also farmers who do seed production, hence they have females.
They put the whole plant in a bag to cut them off from the environment, then handpollinate the best of the best.

The professional farmers buy only crowns of their 2nd year otherwise they could not compete with the European market like Greece..  
German Asparagus is easy 25 EUR per Kilo in the early begin of the season (those who have heating lines under their rows) and then drops not further that around 8 EUR per Kilo.

The Aparagus from Greece comes for 2.99 in the Supermarkets.
These Asparagus need to travel 2500 Kilometers to Germany, so I assume that they are not fair trade, by meaning they get workers from poor countries, let them live in huge groups, under inhumane conditions and working for 3.50 Eur per hour.
 
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For me, seeds are a bonus. Asparagus is the only perennial vegetable that grows wild in my area. I have them tucked all over the place, some the wild varieties planted from seed and some cultivars, mostly Mary Washington. I always let the females go to seed and then collect and plant those out in the hopes that over successive generations I'll get the thicker spears and sweetness of the cultivars with the toughness of the local varieties.

I assume you're referring to James Prigioni's asparagus video- he's a really smart, talented grower. His tactics prioritize productivity of his edible species, and his advice is great for that purpose. If you have other objectives (like mine- I'm trying to let stuff naturalize and take more of a "foraging" approach to my garden where I take minimal harvests from plants like asparagus where the harvestable bit isn't fruit) you can have a lot more flexibility in what the plants do and generally just let them be. Asparagus is a super tough plant, and you'll be fine if you let it go to seed, I tend to just be a bit more judicious about the harvests I gather knowing that i'm not optimizing for harvests.
 
Megan Palmer
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Here are some photos of my asparagus bed and the female plants with berries.
20230508_091040.jpg
Weedy asparagus bed
Weedy asparagus bed
20230508_091123.jpg
Female asparagus plant with berries
Female asparagus plant with berries
20221109_084146.jpg
Exceptionally large male asparagus spear
Exceptionally large male asparagus spear
20220930_092936.jpg
New seasons asparagus emerging beside previous year's stalks
New seasons asparagus emerging beside previous year's stalks
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks Megan, that's a lot of asparagus.  Some of my plants look like that, the seeds haven't turned red yet. ( Don't think, I will have to look)
Thanks again
 
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I am trying to get rid of the female plants. There's been too much self-seeding, and I'm afraid the new plants are just crowding the slightly older plants. I already collected enough seeds, and they last for years if I ever want to start more plants or give seeds to people.

In late summer I cut down the fronds that had berries and marked them with plastic stakes. Then in November I got some friends to help me dig them out. Of the four beds I had, one was mostly male so I left that bed in place and just replaced the one female plant there. The other three beds were in the wrong location so we dug out all the plants (wow, such big vigorous crowns of roots in just 3 or 4 years!!) and moved the males to a new bed, better placed and better amended. It was possible to tease apart some of the crowns and make two plants out of one. I'm sure we missed some of the females and they'll come up in the new bed.

I wouldn't mind having just one female plant among a couple dozen males. I'd be able to pull off all the berries and save seeds or destroy them. But my Jersey Knight seeds from Johnny's seem to have proved to be much more than 50% female and it's impossible to keep up with them. They just become a weed problem.
 
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Do any of you salt your beds?
My dad has always, says it cuts out competitive plants and helps asparagus thrive (?)
 
See Hes
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Mark Beard wrote:Do any of you salt your beds?
My dad has always, says it cuts out competitive plants and helps asparagus thrive (?)



Using salt will not very effective to surpress weeds and grasses.
The only thing I can see is that you increase the salinity levels untill you damage eventually your asparagus.
 
Megan Palmer
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Rebecca Norman wrote:I am trying to get rid of the female plants. There's been too much self-seeding, and I'm afraid the new plants are just crowding the slightly older plants.



I only have one row of asparagus so if there are too many stalks with berries, I just cut the stalk off at the base.

I figure that the loss of the fronds with berries is not going to deplete the crown any more than allowing the berries to ripen.
 
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I couldn't find a good still-image of immature berries, but this is what they look like mid-July on my property in northern Minnesota:



I love that I get seeds. When I want to expand my patch, I grow them for a couple years in an asparagus nursery and then plant them out into rows. My nursery with plants that started as seeds last year looks like this right now:



 
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Asparagus was originally a salt marsh plant - ergo salting the soil
 
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Well, Jen, Asparagus is a heavy feeder and quack grass/ Johnson grass will be very attracted to whatever addition you put on. I tried to cover the edges of the bed with a couple of rubber mats cut to size.. It helped a lot as the mat did not allow water to seep in the alleys: The water went right back in the bed, passing under the boards. Eventually, though, airborne seeds of the quack grass found their way in. The first year I discovered them, it was relatively easy to use a claw and they came out easy: they had very little in the way of roots... but I must have missed some because this year, there are tufts here and there with loooong rhizomes.  I decided to interplant with strawberries [surface feeders], and that may have been a mistake.
The very first bed of asparagus I planted here [15 years ago] was directly in the lawn and it is still sorta thriving. The best thing I did for this one is to let crown vetch invade it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Securigera_varia [mine makes bluer flowers. That could be caused by the wood ash I added to sweeten the soil a bit.]
Crown vetch is a legume, so it nourishes the soil AND it seems to compete well with the *&^%$@!!! Johnson grass, so I let the asparagus grow just above the foliage, find the spears and collect, then I mow at the highest setting to not kill the crown vetch. No weeding. Mulch heavily in the winter even though it will not winterkill in my zone 4b. but it will kill some of the competition, and the quack grass does not go as deep when there is a layer of stuff on top: In the spring, I can claw the bed to get rid of *most* of the quack grass. There is no Johnson grass in that area but the spears are a bit smaller than in the tall bed. I heard that male spears tend to be bigger too, so I just didn't let those make seeds, but my reason is that it takes a lot of energy for any plant to grow seeds/flowers. It really is no big bother because the crowns make so many spears!
Don't worry about your bed net being very deep: It actually helps it to suffer a bit of drought.
Other tip: Asparagus will die in the heavy shade of trees, and in my sandbox, they need a fair amount of water.
I have one really huge hill of asparagus on the north side of m hubby's shooting berm. That one was a volunteer! I was a bit miffed that all these other asparagus plants that I made sure to weed and water and fertilize were not bigger than this volunteer. The berm is actually local soil that hubby skid steered to an impressive height!
Good luck to you, but don't worry too much: Because they have deeeeep roots, asparagus are actually quite difficult to kill, even by neglect!
 
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To me, it doesn't make sense to cut out the whole photosynthesising stalk (just because it has berries) to help the plant put more energy into the root. Instead you can just remove the berries.

When the berries are just starting to form, you can strip them off pretty easily. Just run your hand up the plant from the base to the tip. Grasping tight enough that the berries won't pass through,  but not tight enough to pull all the leaves off.

Of course,  in permaculture,  the problem is the solution. If you have too many berries to plant in your own garden you can try selling the seeds to other people that want asparagus. You can gift or trade them with friends. Plant them somewhere you want to forage "wild" asparagus.

I think the spears from female plants taste just fine.

If you are determined to grow only male plants, just offer your female plants for free on Craigslist or whatever your local marketplace is. People will happily dig those plants up for you...saving you the work. If they are doing this when the plants are not dormant,  have them cut off about 80 or 90 percent of the foliage so the plant will survive the shock of being moved.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Fred Tyler wrote:To me, it doesn't make sense to cut out the whole photosynthesising stalk (just because it has berries) to help the plant put more energy into the root. Instead you can just remove the berries.

When the berries are just starting to form, you can strip them off pretty easily. Just run your hand up the plant from the base to the tip. Grasping tight enough that the berries won't pass through,  buy not tight enough to pull all the leaves off.

Of course,  in permaculture,  the problem is the solution. If you have too many berries to plant in your own garden you can try selling the seeds to other people that want asparagus. You can gift or trade them with friends. Plant them somewhere you want to forage "wild" asparagus.

I think the spears from female plants taste just fine.

If you are determined to grow only male plants, just offer your female plants for free on Craigslist or whatever your local marketplace is. People will happily dig those plants up for you...saving you the work. If they are doing this when the plants are not dormant,  have them cut off about 80 or 90 percent of the foliage so the plant will survive the shock of being moved.




I totally agree, Fred. I should have expressed myself better: Stripping the immature berries is much better, and as far as eating the female stalks, there is no difference in taste whatsoever and they are just a little smaller.
 
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Megan Palmer wrote:Here are some photos of my asparagus bed and the female plants with berries.


I presume that "ferny" photo is from mid-summer, after the harvest. (I'm in eastern Ontario.) As for the "exceptionally large" spear, I get several of that size and many not quite as thick from my 20 year-old bed. It wasn't always that productive, but annual application of rotted manure or kitchen compost plus straw or leaf mould mulch has convinced me that it's not likely to die out before me. By the way, I've learned to harvest the spears before they get lanky and when the tips are still pointy.
The main bed, in a 4'x8' raised bed frame, was started with crowns, but a smaller bed started years later from purchased seeds is almost as good.
The ferns seem to be Japanese beetle magnets, which I knock into a small bucket with a couple of inches of soapy water. I can't tell that the JBs have done any harm to the asparagus (but they wreak havoc on my fruit trees).
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Wow thank you all so much for the great information.  You have eased my mind. My plan is to just keep watering, pull the occasional weed, and enjoy my asparagus.  
A lot of time I do a bunch of research before I plan most anything actually. I didn't with asparagus. I had no idea there were male plans and female. After watching that video I cut some of the females out, but it felt wrong to me. That's when I posted this post.  I will leave the female plants I have. I will try to harvest the seeds. ( I always intend to do this on all sorts of plants, and somehow never manage it). If I manage it I will plant more asparagus. I would love to have a bed in the ground. I would have to make a cage for it because the gopher and mole population the last few years has made it impossible to grow anything unprotected in the ground.  That's a whole other post.
Thank you all for your help and sharing your wisdom. Happy gardening
 
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I must have watched the same video, Tuck steals the show.
I too have a small patch, only 3 yrs old. It's a 4x8 raised bed 12" deep. When I planted I didn't have the crowns to fill it so this spring i bought a 3 pck to fill it out.
I never have have cut the spears back like in and for the reasons of the video. My more mature crowns had started setting seed and were probably 2' tall. When the winds came they had laid quite a few of the frawns down and where covering the small spears of the newly planted crowns. This is when I considered it.

I thought for awhile and IMO on a young crown too repeatedly cut the spears causes the crown to expend the energy to produce another spear. If repeatedly done for root production it would cause the crown to become more spread out possibly weakening the crown altogether or at least in the center once the crown had developed over time. I also think that once a crown develops what it needs to support itself, that's when it's happy and can further its root production until it knows it has the support on the bottom side for another spear. And the circle continues.

I did remove some of the frawns that were possibly going to hinder the younger crowns growth. Guess what... within 2-3 weeks they had produced another spear to frawn and i was right back where i started, with more seed too. I pinned them away from the youngsters.

No..I'm not going to stress my providers to the point of exhaustion. They do that all by themselves, but only the one's that were designed to do so.
Of course there are some exceptions.

My best advice, let the plant and nature teach us in most cases. A plant knows exactly what it needs. We need to provide for it since we are the caretakers, it's our responsibility.

About the seeding... The plant knows what it's doing and it's doing it at the time it knows it should. It's easy to to turn a seedling into nitrogen and carbon and the benefits far outweigh stripping.

I am no Asparagus expert. This just makes sense to me.

Feed your neighbors & Never take more than you can consume or preserve, makes good compost.

A plant is just like a domesticated caged animal. I say domesticated for a reason... what's wild is meant to stay wild or it will not survive... on it's own. Neither will its offspring.

"You can lead an animal to water, but you can't make it drink."   "When you know the hens off the nest, do you watch it for her?"   "My dog is standing in the rain right beside the doghouse, not my fault"

" Dad, can I steal that baby squirrel from the nest","Don't you dare,son"    "Dad, I found this baby squirrel and I watched it and the momma wouldn't help it an left.", " Let's build a cage for it son"

Who do you blame when a fox comes in and takes 1 of the flock because you didn't protect them?


Open for constructive criticism =)
 
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I have desired an asparagus bed for years**, but have been deterred by the "fact" (where I read this, I don't remember) that a bed can't be harvested from for five years.  But it sounds like you all didn't wait five years before enjoying the fruits of your labor!

**this makes me laugh now, bc for the first 50 years of my life I wouldn't even try asparagus LoL.  Now it's on the shopping list every week -- which is why I want to grow it myself!
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I have had such amazing luck with the hugel style garden I fill all my raised beds that way.  The only problem I have is over time to wood brakes down, and the soil level lowers.  
I have been getting by adding a couple inches of compost. This year the soil level has dropped about 12".  I would love to add 10" to 11" of compost/soil.  That much soil would kill most plants.  So my question is how much compost/soil can I add without harming the asparagus?
Thanks for your help. This will be the year I can finally enjoy my asparagus. I don't want to kill it now.
 
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Not only is the soil very low, but there's a bunch of asparagus popping out of the soil.  It's hard to see in the photo, but I will post it anyway.
IMG20240125171908.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG20240125171908.jpg]
 
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Hi, I have asparagus beetles for the last 3 years.  Do you have any experience in getting rid of them.
 
Fred Tyler
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Jen Fulkerson wrote:  So my question is how much compost/soil can I add without harming the asparagus?



Directions from fedco's website:


"Plant 6–10" deep, in trenches 4' apart. Lay plants with crown up and cover with 2" of soil. As young shoots grow, add soil gradually, just covering the shoots, until the trench is full."



Maybe it is OK to bury them little by little as the spears grow? I've seen other similar instructions that say to bury them 2" at a time as they grow.

How deep did you bury them initially?
 
David Wieland
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Jen Fulkerson wrote:I have had such amazing luck with the hugel style garden I fill all my raised beds that way.  The only problem I have is over time to wood brakes down, and the soil level lowers.  
I have been getting by adding a couple inches of compost. This year the soil level has dropped about 12".  I would love to add 10" to 11" of compost/soil.  That much soil would kill most plants.  So my question is how much compost/soil can I add without harming the asparagus?


That dramatic drop in soil level must be due to the coarse material at the bottom of your hugel-style bed really breaking down, because the asparagus wouldn't have used that much of the bed's contents. You can comfortably add a few inches of light soil and compost without harming the asparagus, but I wouldn't add more than 5" in a single year.

How high were the ferns at the end of the summer? If they were approaching full size (mine go 6 feet or more above the soil in a raised bed), you're unlikely to be able to smother them with even 6" or more of fresh material. A mature asparagus plant is deep-rooted and naturally pushes up its spears through quite a bit of soil. Once the harvest has ended, you could add more around the ferns. My bed has been productive for 25 years with no sign of running out, top-dressed with only a couple of inches of compost or manure each year, mostly at the end of the season. A few inches of shredded leaves added before cold weather provides some insulation against temperature swings and helps keep the soil level up.
 
Megan Palmer
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David Wieland wrote:
I presume that "ferny" photo is from mid-summer, after the harvest.



Hello David, those photos were taken in May, autumn in the southern hemisphere.

I stop harvesting around late December and allow the spears to mature into fronds to feed the crowns. By then we have usually had more than enough asparagus to eat.

Found a lovely recipe for a tart where only the tips are kept whole and the rest of the spear is liquidised with eggs, milk, cream and cheese with a homemade shortcrust base.

I have tried blanching, freezing and vac packing but the texture is not as nice, they lose their crunch.

Spears are still emerging but I have just finished mulching the saffron bed beside the asparagus and about to fertilise both beds with chicken manure, I collect the chicken manure daily and bag it up.

We are very fortunate to have access to free arborist's mulch, coffee grounds and sawdust so plenty of mulching material.

Jen, I would not be concerned with putting too deep a mulch over your asparagus. I put over 30cm of woodchips over mine and fertilise on top..

The spears have no trouble pushing through.

Am sowing more of the purple variety - it is sweeter.

I will never win the battle with the couch so bo longer fight it - winecaps love the woodchips and happily grow through it. Not had good crops of winecaps for a while but soon as they get the right type of wood, they reappear.

IMG-20240117-WA0000.jpg
Mulched saffron bed
Mulched saffron bed
20200601_123640.jpg
Couch grass
Couch grass
20191126_073903.jpg
Asparagus emerging through woodchips
Asparagus emerging through woodchips
 
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Megan, you're in a zone similar to me, also southern hemisphere! do you cut the fronds at a certain point? here because i never get a hard definitive frost I never knew if or when i should cut the fronds.
i'm just starting up asparagus from seed again, in the past I grew it in a box (our soil is rocky and horrible) and it did well until i stupidly tried to divide the crowns (should have left it alone...), this time I'll try it in the ground.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks everyone for all your wonderful advice.  You have been super helpful.  

David.  I don't remember how deep I planted, but I don't think it was very deep. Knowing myself I probably look it up on the Internet, and went with the depth that came up the most.

Krystyna. I haven't had any problems with the asparagus beetles.  I read petunias are good at repelling them. The bed always has lots of petunias in it.  I also plant lots of veggies, herbs and flowers in my other garden beds.  I don't use any pesticides organic  or other.  I let nature battle it out. So far these practices have been working for me very well.  I don't take for granted how lucky I have been, and know an attack could be around the corner. So far if I see pest activity, if I control my urge to do something and wait, most of the time the predators will take care of the problem.  It has taken about 3 years to balance things out after I stopped using organic pesticides.  I don't remember how long since I've used anything that wasn't organic, a long time.

I used old fire wood in the bottom of the bed, so I'm not surprised by the level change, a couple of my other beds did the same. I knew it would brake down quickly, but it's what I had at the time.  The other beds were easy because they didn't have perennials growing in them.  I think I will add a couple of inches of compost, and a couple inches of a soil I have that is very airy and light.  I will continue to do this every winter until I'm to the top.  I really appreciate all the great help.  With annual veggies it's not that big of a deal. If it doesn't work do something different next time. With the asparagus this year I should finally get to eat it, so I don't want to mess it up now.
Thanks again happy gardening everyone.
 
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Jen wrote:
David.  I don't remember how deep I planted, but I don't think it was very deep. Knowing myself I probably look it up on the Internet, and went with the depth that came up the most.


Well, based on my failed effort to dig up a plant that I was going to try transplanting, after a few years asparagus roots are pretty massive and deeper than planted. I doubt that there's a more tenacious food plant that isn't a tree.
 
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I'm so glad to have found this thread, and another much older one. I'm embarking on a journey and don't really know where I'll end up. Permaculture ideas but somewhere between typical backyard veggie gardening and full on food forest. And hopefully enough spare plants/produce to have a hobby nursery.

South Carolina Zone 8a

I have 2 nursery trays filled with asparagus seedlings and seeds germinating in moist coffee filters waiting to be planted (Mary Washington and UC 157) and seeds for 3 more varieties on the way.

Loved the idea of planting daffodils with the asparagus when planting in random locations. And am.pleased to learn that petunias repel asparagus beetles. I'll probably plant several beds or areas. Haven't decided on formal spacing yet.  The main reason for several beds is to ensure a harvest in the event deer find my goodies.

I'm still not sure if I'll do a first year "nursery bed" or just go ahead and plant in permanent locations at  best spacing practices. Any thoughts are appreciated!
Carrie
 
Megan Palmer
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Tereza Okava wrote:Megan, you're in a zone similar to me, also southern hemisphere! do you cut the fronds at a certain point? here because i never get a hard definitive frost I never knew if or when i should cut the fronds.
i'm just starting up asparagus from seed again, in the past I grew it in a box (our soil is rocky and horrible) and it did well until i stupidly tried to divide the crowns (should have left it alone...), this time I'll try it in the ground.




I'm sorry for not replying sooner Tereza!

I have never bothered to cut back the fronds, they eventually go brown and fall over.

I've found that the stalks are a useful marker of where the crowns are and touch wood, we don't have asparagus beetles.

The berries provide lots of self seeded plants and I also sow them in pots but usually give them away as gifts.

I've only tried digging them up once and the couch grass was so tangled up in the roots, gave up. I would have caused too much damage to the crowns.


 
Jen Fulkerson
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Carrie you should do what works best for you.  If it's possible I find growing in the space it's going to live pretty much always works best.  Disturbing roots always takes a tole. Some plans handle it better than others, but in a perfect world I would not move plants. (This world is far from perfect, so I start a lot of seeds in pots, and more what isn't working, again you have to do what you have to do)

I've been busy and I haven't been cutting my asparagus. I told my family. My son cut a bunch. I told him he should have cut it to soil level. Since it was kind of tall he only cut the top 6 or 8 inches. The night I told him he needed to cut it at ground level he want out and cut the stalks. Not wanting to be waist full he cooked them up.  As you may guess they were too woody to eat., but the flavor wow so good.  I'm not a huge fan of asparagus. This is one of those veggies the is so much better, not even comparable to grocery store asparagus.  I've got to make time to get some.

Now my next question.  My little bed is looking pretty packed.  Should I thin  it?  If yes, how much, and when?  I will take some pictures when I go out today so you all can see.
Thanks
 
Megan Palmer
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Jen, the next time that you harvest long stalks that are too woody to eat, you could still cook the ends but tie them in a bunch to feed to your chooks.

Our girls are too fussy to eat them raw, but if I chop the cooked stalks, they gobble them up.

If I’m making soup, I boil the stalks first then fish them out for added flavour to the stock.

My asparagus ferns are still green, stopped cutting a couple of months ago now.
 
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Carrie Butler wrote:

I'm still not sure if I'll do a first year "nursery bed" or just go ahead and plant in permanent locations at  best spacing practices. Any thoughts are appreciated!
Carrie



Hi Carrie.   I'm also growing five different varieties of asparagus seedlings this year.  If you have the space ready, go ahead and put them in their permanent location but keep an eye on them as they're still young.  My mom has spoken for at least twelve of the seedlings and I'll take them to her in a couple of months and we'll plant them in one of her raised beds.  Mine however will likely overwinter in a nursery bed as I'm in  the process of making a new perennial garden area.
 
no wonder he is so sad, he hasn't seen this tiny ad:
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https://permies.com/t/238620/perennial-vegetables/FREE-Perma-Veggies-Book
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