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 Post subject: Asparagus in a SFG
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 6:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 am
Posts: 280
Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
Has anybody put in an asparagus bed using the SFG style and what kind of luck did you have?
John

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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:02 pm
Posts: 553
Location: philly
great topic!

i just bought some asparagus and have no idea what i'm going to do. the only thing i've decided on is to start a new bed specifically for them and i plan on moving some of the perennial herbs i have into that bed as well.

i really haven't had time to do any research about the aspargus...soil needs, room needed, etc.

hopefully, others here have some experience with it and can give both of us some assistance!


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 1:35 pm 
Joclyn - definitely try to find the time to do some research & reading. Asparagus is an EXTREMELY long-lived perennial vegetable (like 50+ years) that requires specific planting & care when first put in. It's not something that you can just stick somewhere & move around at whim. There's LOTS of info both on the web & in books on how best to start your asparagus bed. You'd best get busy on some research before those roots you bought dry out.

John - I've never grown asparagus square-foot style & have my doubts that it would be productive enough because of the long life of the plants & the room they need because of that long life. It could probably be done, but the harvest would probably be severely compromised. What I'd probably do (& actually have been thinking of doing here on our farm) is do a couple of rows of asparagus as a border to a SQF garden. The ferns are awfully tall & pretty once the harvest season passes, yet not dense enough to cast shade or anything detrimental to the rest of the plot.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 10:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:02 pm
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Location: philly
oh, i know it's perennial and long-lived. i just bought the package last week...so, research is just at the beginning phase!


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 Post subject: Should be okay
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:29 pm
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Location: Sunol, CA (9B)
It'll happily grow in a raised bed if you leave it alone and the soil is deep. Asparagus is a fairly heavy feeder so you probably wouldn't want to expose it to lots of competition by planting vigorous annuals adjacent to it. You also wouldn't want to water the bed much while the asparagus is dormant. Rhubarb has similar requirements and can be used in the perennial bed too.

I might put in some next year, I held out this spring because most of my beds will be moving this winter.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 6:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:02 pm
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Location: philly
what little research i've been able to do has brought me to the point where i think a raised bed would be best.

my yard sloped, so i'm thinking the aspargus in the uppermost part and then the herbs (both perennial and annual) at the bottom...so excessive water wouldn't be an issue during the dormant phase of the aspargus.

how much does each 'start' (not sure if that's the right term) spread out over time? that's one bit of info i haven't come across.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 am
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
I put in an asparagus bed at a previous residence some time ago. The bed preparation is involved and requires lots of well composted horse manure, compost and soil. This fall I will be converting another part of the garden to SFG/raised bed/no till garden. My thoughts are to spade horse and straw manure into a very high quality garden soil before placing an 8” X 36” X16’ raised bed box in place. After the box is in place I will add about 4” of compost and spade it in to the top of the HM/soil below then fill the remainder of the box with compost and a liberal amount of hot lime. Come spring I will plant the crowns with a liberal spacing, I don’t follow the published spacing for SFG. I think my biggest challenge will be finding horse manure with straw bedding, I might have to go to Culpeper, VA with tin cup in hand. :wink:

John

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 7:53 am 
If it wasn't so darn heavy I'd ship it to you John - lol!

I know PA is a big state, but are you near any of the PA mushroom-growing areas? If so, you might be able to get a straw/horse manure lead from them since that's what they use in the button-mushroom industry. In fact, just a few years ago a number of PA mushroom farms were sending trucks down monthly to northern VA horse-breeding farms (where straw bedding is king).

Another suggestion would be to put a notice up at your local hay/feed stores for straw-bedding manure. Anyone buying straw for bedding quite possibly is looking for a way to get rid of it at the other end (unless they're diehard gardeners like us - lol!).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pm
Posts: 1630
Location: PNW
I have it planted in a raised bed about 4' wide and 20' long. Our soil has a lot of clay in it and it rains a lot during the winter, plus the water table is high, so it had to be raised up to drain off the rain water.

About 3years after I planted it, asparagus beetles found my tiny little patch amongst acres of fields and woods. How they zoned in on it baffles me. If it was the year after planting, I'd suspect they came with the plants. For a couple of years, I'd pick off the beetles and larvae, but it got too time consuming and I just decided to give up. I hosed them off part of the time too, but that doesn't help with the adults. It's recommended that you pick up all the debris so they don't have a place to hibernate, but that means I couldn't mulch around them to keep the weeds down over the winter. Lady bugs are starting to increase there, so maybe there's still a chance it will make it. It does continue to come up every year.


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