OK, so after 30 years, it's time to replace the aging asparagus bed. I'm
both cheap and optimistic, so plan to start from seed, started in the
greenhouse, to a nursery bed, to their final home next year.
"Jersey Knight" is touted as being mostly male and to do well in heavy
soil, which appeals to me, since the rocks in the garden are bound together
Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic
Zone 5/4 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
While you are growing up your seedlings prepare the final bed. Make sure it
is in full sun. Add lots of organic matter (I use a mix of horse and chook
manure) digging it in deeply with gypsum and (if required) lime, mulch to
exclude weeds. After transplanting the crowns mulch well after the shoots
come up. Feed well every year with more manure as they are heavy feeders.
I have the very common Mary Washington which does fine in heavy soil. I
have never bothered with mounding or bleaching, the green stalks are just
fine as they emerge at ground level. Don't be tempted to add salt to the
bed. Some people think because asparagus tolerates salt it needs it - not
true. Others think that it is a cool way to inhibit weeds, I think mulching
is better. Salt is likely to harm your soil even if some plants will deal
For those who have never grown asparagus, canned asparagus is inedible
rubbish. Supermarket asparagus is edible if fresh and will do if nothing
else is available. If not fresh (the tips start to look ragged and/or the
stems are no longer full and plump) then forget it. Really fresh asparagus
cooked (only briefly) within minutes of cutting is truly divine. In the
spring I have to keep my daughters from stealing and eating the spears as
they go past the bed. With good asparagus you don't cover it with heavy
sauces but allow the character of the vegetable to come through. A sprinkle
of salt, a dob of butter and maybe a squeeze of lemon juice is all you need
to season it.
Yes I like it :-)
Jersey Knight is an good choice for your area; however Jersey Giant would be a bit better for your hardiness zone. Starting from seed is a much longer process then buying asparagus crowns, http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/ProductCart/pc/Asparagus-Plants-for-Sale-Jersey-Male-Asparagus-Crowns-c48.htm You will lose at least an additional year over the normal 1/2 year wait on new asparagus plants; however if you are still eating off of told bed it should be no problem. Think Spring!
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