I look at how to grow asparagus as well as strawberries at PumpjackPiddlewick

My vegetable garden has this space to the front that has been earmarked for asparagus from first moving in. Sort of L shaped and bordered by paths on one side, super handy for picking, but also a bit out of the way. The area one may have finally gotten to after all else was said and done. So instead it has been put to work straight away, to provide tasty greens… eventually.

Patience is a Virtue

I have called this area the ‘patience place’. Growing asparagus is all about time and patience. Which is why, in all the veg garden, this was the area planted first, in my first spring here.

Asparagus is a perennial, e.g. it comes back every year. However, it takes 4 years before one can truly harvest. (Serious amount of patience!) But then, after that, I can enjoy almost 15 years of delicious goodness.

It is possible to plant asparagus from seed, but personally I don’t recommend it. You are already going to wait 4 years to reap the crop. If you do from seed you can look at adding on another 2. Let someone else grow the crown for you and save a little time.

Planting Asparagus

The time has to be put in at the beginning, getting the area ready. I had started digging the asparagus bed in mid-February. Digging it down to the base soil, after clearing the area of weeds and debris (with lots and lots of help from the cats and ducks).

From there it was built back up. First using rich mulch from one of my dug out hugelkultur trenches. Then mounded up the dirt into mini mountains within. The crowns then get laid over these mounds, looking rather like a dormant spider, only with more legs. Then all was covered with more loamy soil. Twigs stuck in the soil tell me where the crowns lay hidden.

Strawberries

Having grown asparagus before, I decided this time to try something different. Something additional. Strawberries. Since it will be a number of years before the asparagus showcases itself fully, I have planted another perennial around the edge of the bed. And then if the asparagus doesn’t thrive, I have won’t have wasted all those years. I will still have a crop of something from this bed to harvest.

If you read up on asparagus there is a lot of talk about keeping the area weed free. But I can tell you that is almost impossible if nothing else is growing there, especially for 4 years. So I am turning to permaculture and a food forest concept. Planting other plants alongside that may assist in keeping the weeds at bay.

Perennial Favourites

My preference is to plant perennials with perennials. So hence the strawberries. Their roots are fairly shallow, so hopefully will not interfere too directly with the deeper roots of the asparagus. Time will tell.

It will take about a year before the strawberries truly take and start producing. I have gone for a large selection of varieties, with the intent to have strawberries from May into November. I may get some fruit this year, but not compared to the following years. That’s the thing about perennials, you plant them for the long haul. Like my fruit trees.

And each year the strawberry plants will send out runners and baby plants. From a small number of plants I can almost treble my yield annually. I have already earmarked where the additional strawberry plants will go. To start, underneath the fruit trees. And eventually, essentially, in every pocket I can find. I do love strawberries. Though I might argue, not as much as asparagus.

So duly planted, it’s now a matter of sitting back and waiting to see if this will all work. Will my asparagus actually take root and grow?

And in the meantime, I’ll enjoy some strawberries.

PS

If you enjoy gardening, or simply like to read about gardening, please check out my other Garden Findings.

Or if you are particularly interested in food, my Food Findings.

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2024-03-15

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