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My asparagus is just starting to spring up. This seems a little late in the season and I think it should now be growing full force. At what stage is everyone else's crop growing?
Also does anyone have any secrets to grow thick stalks? Mine is still spindly after 2 yrs. What companion plants are you growing with your asparagus? I planted a few strawberries, but I need something else.
Mine took forever to sprout from seeds, but I have a few now still growing. Once they get a bit larger I'll transplant them to my raised beds. My fairy tale pumpkins also started out later than everything else.
Grace, we have been growing asparagus for a long time. This is the 'end' of the harvest for us as they have been sprouting since late January. Generally the stalks get thicker each year the plants are in the ground. 2 year old plants are just really beginning to get going and you would 'harvest' for only one week then let them go to full growth - I call them feathers - so they can put energy and size back into the roots.
Plant nasturtiums in the fall/winter or parsley and basil in the summer as companions. Strawberries are excellent companions to asparagus.
This is one of the gardener's patience tests - and asparagus are really good at that exercise :-)
As long as they are getting full or mostly full sun year round you should get a better crop next year.
Question: Last year did you let the plants go to full feather /flower growth before cutting back in December/January?
Wow Jon, starting asparagus from seed? I am still anxiously waiting for my raspberry seeds to sprout. How do you keep the squash bugs away from your pumpkins?
Thanks Catherine, yes I let the ferns grow over the winter. Parsley is good, I know it does not like to be transplated, so it can be a permanent crop. I am also reading tomatoes are a good companion, so I will plant them by the asparagus to save on water. I have nasturtiums planted all over to repel the bugs. Maybe I should have watered the asparagus more earlier in the season.
Yep, started from seeds, but took forever. Some of my herbs have yet to sprout, may venture out and just buy plants for those. My pumpkins have only recently sprouted two leaves each. Also, for bug control, I have two chickens that I let out of the coop everyday to free range in the backyard. I also allow spiders to build their webs near the plants to help with bug control as well.
Be patient with the herbs. Some of my herbs have taken months to sprout, but they come up. I have learned not to give up on any seed or plant. My peony that I planted a year ago, is coming back up, I thought it was dead. Also I have a trumpet vine that keeps reappearing. I am thinking about chickens, but I wonder how they would get along with the cat and dog.
Seed starting for some plants and herbs can be a real test of a gardener's patience. Many can take up to a year to germinate even under ideal conditions.
If you are starting some types of plants from seed and are not sure how long they will take or they have a reputation for taking a long time to germinate, I put them with something already growing which I have to take care of, or I start them in pots with flowering plants so I know something is alive in there. :-)
Tomatoes will do fine with the asparagus - we generally have some volunteers of my heirloom in there. Just remember when you have above ground edibles with 'root' edible you should cut the dead plants off at the soil surface at clean up time rather than pull them so you do not disturb the roots of the asparagus.
Watering - because you are actually 'growing' the asparagus all year long, you should only decrease water as needed to coincide with cooler temperatures. Our beds are watered about every 6-7 days in the winter, a watering is skipped if we have a half inch of rain. In the summer the mature beds are watered about every 3-4 days depending on heat levels.
Just a note about tomatoes and asparagus. We had an accidental tomato grow in our asparagus bed. It grew to be huge and produced wonderful tomatoes, but killed off a few of the asparagus...asparaguses...asparagi? Anyway, some of the plants. :)
Catherine, at what time do you cut yours back?
Ah that is part of the delimma when choosing companion plants. The asparagus to be their healthiest need to go all the way to umber/yellow in color. So that usually translates to December. It also means the plants do need access to the sun spring-early winter. If the die-off of the asparagus happened within the last 2 years they can surprise you and come back :-)
We cut ours back in January, knowing we were a little late, but it did just fine. It's good to have the confirmation from an expert! :)
I think the tomato roots choked out the asparagus. Three of the starts stopped. All the rest are doing well and expanding, so we added a few more starts to fill the gap, and everything is happy. Next year will be year 3 and time to reap the rewards of patience!
Good Sheri. The plant's "feathers" are pretty much spent by December/January, so cutting them late should not be a problem as long as they are cut back before you see the first new spears coming up - they need the sunlight to really get going along with the warming soil. "On average" we see the first spear attempting to break the soil around the last week in January to the first week in February.
I've been wanting to start some asparagus. I assume there must be different varieties. Are there choices for varieties that do well here in AZ?