How unfortunate that no one has answered your question!
I don't know the answer. My reply is that I am trying both methods in my garden. I live in a suburb in Ontario Canada, hardiness zone 5.
We have planted asparagus along the south side of a wooden north fence, just here and there, interspersed amongst shrubs and perennials.
We have also alloted a bed on the west side of the house, about 6X6 feet just for strawberries and asparagus.
I am about to transplant more plants that were along the wooden north fence, all together in a narrow bed 18" x 15 feet to a new bed in the middle of our yard which is about 2 feet x 12 feet.
I have discovered so far (after only one season) that the individual plants are very hard to find for harvesting at the appropriate time.
My fiddleheads will be easier to find because they are not so hidden by shrubs!
Please let me know what you have tried and what the results for you were!
And then try to plant in some kind of grid or pattern even though they are far apart, so you don't forget where that 12th and 15th ones were. Or plant then with a daffodil bulb, and when those start blooming in the spring you've got a little yellow flag where each one is. Daffodils also keep the gophers away. If you have a big gopher problem you'd need at least 4 bulbs per asparagus plant.
I have clay soil, which holds moisture, and they do very well with little attention as long as they are mulched heavily. So if you have sandy soil they might need more watering, unless you get enough rain.
Richard Gorny wrote:Thanks for your replies. Well, I have changed my plans and instead of doing what I was asking about, I have made a new no-dig bed for asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes. The crows are under a feet of mulch, composed of fallen leaves, hay straw, woodchips and a bit of compost. It is their first year here, so all I can say is that they are growing. In a year or two we will see if they will become productive.
I'm in zone 7 with heavier soil. Odds are good that your Jerusalem may choke out the asparagus within a couple/few years. They are very aggressive growers and I put them far far away from other perennials. I also leave the top of the crowns completely exposed when planting. We dig a ditch, just over a foot deep and about 18 - 24" wide. We then build up hills inside of the ditch with compost and spread the long roots around these hills (1 hill per asparagus crown), leaving the very top of the crown visible. We then fill in the ditches which will give the roots lots of insulation for the winter and top dress with leaves then woodchips, barely covering the top of the crown. We use a lot of woodchips for fall/winter mulch.
I am really interested in hearing how things go for you with this bed.
The other thing that gophers leave alone and are very drought tolerant are day lillies, and those are good markers, too. This site talks about the zones they work in.
I expect this could be made to work with quite a few ccombinations. And of course it gets pollinators distributed about as well.
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