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help me form a guild plan including asparagus

 
Posts: 718
Location: Zone 5
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I plan lots of hay and horse manure on ton top of my gild...so anything else has to be able to handle such treatment... I am thinking maybe some carrot tops to let go to seed, I would be hoping for seedlings. 

If there was a plant that would help my asparagus at repelling bugs or provided a mineral or something that I didn't want to grow there (would marygolds be a simple answer?) anyway I would also use that plant for mulch

My answer for most things is horse manure and either sawdust or hay. 
 
                    
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Giant soloman's seal grows anywhere from full sun to full shade, and has a taller (3-4-5') arching shape that works well for standing behind or next to shorter friends. It also looks nice: 

http://www.npsnj.org/polygonatum_canaliculatum.htm

Plants for a future gives this edible description: Young shoots - cooked. Boiled and used as an asparagus substitute (well lookie thar!), they make an excellent vegetable[2, 4, 115] and are widely used in Turkey[244].

A big part of creating polycultures with nicely partitioned niches is mixing plant architectures and root types.  So taller, skinnier plants with tap roots, like cultivated Yarrows, would make good sense as asparagus companions. 
 
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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I'm here with the Edible Forest Gardens book by David Jacke.

He's got a polyculture example here with asparagus in it. Everything is spaced 1.5-2 feet apart.

With asparagus in the middle, he lists:

6-7 foot row of strawberries ST
1.5 sq ft of skirret -SK
2 sq ft of lemon balm -LB
1 sq ft of good king henry -GK
1.5 sq ft of dandelion- D
and another 1.5 sq ft of good king henry

Here's the configuration and as I said above, everything is planted no more than 2 feet apart. The A stands for asparagus but you probably already gathered that

PAAAATH
GK D GK
SK A LB
STSTSTST         
PAAAATH


Does that make sense or is it horribly confusing?


 
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Well, I'm late to the party, but I was just researching this question myself, so I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

I have a fairly conventional asparagus patch (though it is planted with a few associates) for high-yielding, large asparagus spears. If that's what you want, go conventional.

But I also have asparagus planted into an ecologically-modeled hedgerow based on a couple of the best wild asparagus patches I know of. The idea here, was to produce low-input, extensive asparagus with more of a "wild" quality (and hopefully the "wild" vigor and disease tolerance.) Also, I was guided by the land, as many of these plants (including asparagus) grow wild in guilds all around me, including in my yard.

I used "improved versions" and cultivated relatives, but the basic wild guild I imitated would be mesic forest-edge, hedgerow or savannah ecology, often in disturbed land with other aggressive plants. Species I've observed around healthy wild asparagus patches (listed from canopy to ground) include Hickory and Prunus species, Elderberry, Hazel, Autumn Olive, Helianthus, Milkweed, Queen Ann's Lace, Chicory, mustards and cresses, and various prairie nitrogen fixers, especially red and white clover. The asparagus is mostly planted in pure clumps surrounded by plants I can "chop and drop" to quickly keep competition down.

I see asparagus growing with asters, carrots and grasses all the time. But the best-looking wild spears, in my experience, come from patches with lots of sun, but without too much grass. It might also be helpful to Google "wild asparagus" and look through the images. Lots of pics of gus with his floral buddies.

Too soon to say weather or not my guild has worked as well as those it copies. Just imitating what I've observed.

Oh, and I've been lurking around Permies for many moons, but this is my first post here.

So, hello!
 
Jennifer Smith
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Location: Zone 5
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Hello Mike, nice to hear from you. I have tried a few things with my gus but you are right, it does well alone. It grows tall and fast if fed plenty
 
pollinator
Posts: 261
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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For what it's worth, my mom's had a fairly conventional asparagus patch going for over 30 years now. It gets regular applications of manure as mulch and she does allow alpine strawberries to grow wherever they show up.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 3055
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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I have both asparagus and strawberry plants to find a home for. This site suggested planting them together. https://joybileefarm.com/how-to-grow-strawberries-asparagus/ I was thinking to put them in a curvy pattern under a 2 year old Gala Apple tree, or with my BRAND NEW BLUEBERRY PATCH of 6 plants.

Does anyone see trouble from either location?
 
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