Friday, April 11, 2014

Planting asparagus

The weather is fantastic, but I keep thinking that it's all a trick.  I'm sure that any day the temperature will plummet and 8 inches of snow will fall.  I know that winter is over but can't quite convince myself.  Sure the hostas are sending up shoots, birds are everywhere, the grass is green, and still it seems like winter is going to come back for a last hurrah.  It was a bad bad winter.

Today I finished the new bed by planting asparagus and strawberries.  Two days ago I removed the top six inches of soil from this bed and piled it in a nearby empty bed.  Then I made a V-shaped trench in this bed.  This morning I dumped two bags of compost into the trench and spaded it over, mixing it in well. 

Then I got to work on the pile of soil that will be used to cover the asparagus crowns.  I shoveled about half of it into the garden cart and mixed in a bag of compost.  Thank goodness for garden tractors and carts, because I'm getting too old to wheelbarrow all this soil around.

Back to the asparagus bed.  I added about 2/3's of a pound of bone meal into the trench then mixed it in with a hoe.  I checked the depth of the trench.  Most of the advice I've read recommends planting the all male Jersey asparagus about 6 inches deep.  The deepest part of the trench was about 8 to 9 inches deep in this photo.

Then I hoed in dirt from the side of the trench to fill in the V and make a flat area about 6 inches deep.  I planted the crowns 16 inches apart and spread the roots out, then pulled in a little dirt from the side of the trench to hold them in place.  No I don't have any pictures of the crowns in the soil but trust me they are in there.  Then I filled over the crowns with the soil/compost mix in the cart. This filled the bed to within about an inch or two of the top.  I'll wait for the shoots to appear then put the remaining soil back into this bed.

Then it was time for the strawberries.  I dumped a bag of compost over the area to be planted in berries.  That little rock on the bed border marks the point where the asparagus planting ends.  The compost was turned over and mixed into the soil.  I don't know if strawberries will do well here, it's a clayey soil and somewhat alkaline, but being a raised bed it is well-drained. 

These are everbearing strawberries (Tribute) and are supposed to be planted about a foot apart.  I set up a diagonal planting pattern to maximize the space. This allowed for 12 plants.  If I had planted them in a block pattern there would have been room for only 8 plants.

The strawberry plants were set in.  The bed was finished. 

I wasn't finished yet.  I seeded parsnip in a 4'x4' space, and transplanted a set of brassicas.  At this point two beds are completely planted, one with asparagus/strawberries/herbs and another with onions/parsnip.  The greens bed is about half-filled with lettuce and spinach.
And the brassicas are starting to fill out.  It's coming along, and I don't think winter will be back for a while.

1 comment:

Mark Willis said...

You have had a busy time! Asparagus is frustrating stuff. It is a long time before you can harvest any, and then it is only productive for a few weeks in a year. But it's so nice that you forgive it!

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