There is nothing like having fresh asparagus from your own garden! Asparagus is just one of those crops that no matter how fresh it may look or feel in the supermarket - the taste of home
grown can't be beat!
Asparagus is different than most of the vegetable crops planted in the garden. Unlike annual varieties such as tomatoes, cucumber and peppers that need planted each year - asparagus is a perennial. Once established, they can provide a good crop for 20 to 25 years for you and your family to enjoy!
They also differ because plants are either male or female. The males are known to have larger and more abundant spear production, while the female varieties tend to be thinner and produce seeds in the fall for reproduction. Most prefer to plant only the male for the added production levels. Popular male varieties such as Jersey Giant and Jersey Knight are great choices for those looking for maximum yields.
Asparagus can be started from seed or from what are called crowns - which are nothing more than the roots of 1 to 2-year-old asparagus plants. Most, (including us) really prefer starting them with the crowns and not from seed. Growing from seed can take up to 2 to 3 years to have edible spears formed - while starting with crowns can give you a few spears to enjoy by the second year. It's also easier to start and maintain the crowns - as their growth is more defined early on, making it easier to keep weeded.
How To Plant :
With the long crop cycle of 20 or more years - it is important to prepare your bed space accordingly. Work in generous amounts of compost to the soil before planting to provide a good starting base for your crop. Asparagus will do best in a nice, sunny location. They can tolerate some partial shade, but grow and thrive much better with full sun.
To plant asparagus, you will want to dig a trench about 6" deep and about 8" wide. We like to space ours about 18" between crowns. Place the crown at the bottom of the trench, and cover with about 2" of topsoil. As the crown begins to grow through the soil, keep adding a few inches of soil until the soil level has filled in the trench over the course of a few weeks. This process allows the asparagus to develop a deep root system to provide for years of crop harvests.
For your first year, allow the plants to grow tall. Resist the temptation to cut a few spears - you want all of the growth to go to the plant and root structure. In the fall after they have died off, you can cut them off about 1" above the soil and place a little straw or compost mulch over them for the winter.
In year two, you will begin to see some small spears shoot through the earth in the spring. You can harvest the first week or two of spears, then allow the plants to once again grow tall and build up strength. The year 2 spears will be smaller, but still very tasty!
Year 3 is where the fun begins! You should be close to full harvest - enjoying fresh spears each and every spring for many years to come. After each spring harvest, let your asparagus grow tall in the beds and repeat the process of cutting back after they have died off in the fall.
Upkeep and Maintenance of Beds:
The biggest key to good productive asparagus is to keep your beds weed free. Weeds and grass compete for valuable nutrients, and a weedy bed will result in smaller, less productive harvests. We use either straw or compost mulch to keep ours weed-free throughout the year. It's also a good idea each fall to put on a two-inch covering of compost on top of your beds to give some added nutrients. Other than that - once established, your asparagus beds will provide you with years of fresh and amazing tasting crops each spring!
Happy Gardening! - Jim and Mary
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I bought a house brand new without any landscaping whatsoever. It was only dirt and it took me 5 years to complete. But, WOW! It was worth the effort.
Commented on Jun 27, 2012
What most people don't understand is, I did most of it by myself. I hauled all the rock in and
did all the mortar work. I hauled in the trees and planted all the flora. I created the planter "boxes" (there's a drain pipe running the length under them, along the front porch, and under the rock along the driveway.) I put in the drain ditch along the south end of the house (You can't actually see it in this picture) and planted all the roses, and other plants. I also dug out the clay down in front of the property and put in a retaining wall. You can't see that either, but it's there.
Any Ideas on how to make the fireplace appear smaller or blend in as a nice focal point?
We just bought an older home and are working on a tight budget. The kitchens fireplace is
the first thing you notice upon entering the room. We have toned down the dark red & cleaned up the fireplace by removing the old doors & mirror.
The fireplace sits right at the kitchen and is large. I have started to tile but stopped, concerned that it may clash with the floor if brought to the bottom.
any Ideas on how to make the fireplace appear smaller or blend in as a nice focal point? or just in general for the room?
Commented on Apr 26, 2012
Put a light colored wood board on the top of the hearth to place plants and other fun
stuff..Put a screen or shutters in front of that big black hole...maybe paint the shutters a demure picture of peonies in pale colors so as not to draw attention to the space, but to look "pretty" without too much attention. Put some shelves or a "sunken" nook on/in the wall above the fireplace to match the existing hutch to place some nice glassware, or more plants. I'd put in tile over the brick on the hearth to help it to blend in with the floor. It's very harsh right now. If not tile, use faux stone.
All buyers have rejected the spectacular house because of the steep but terraced back yard. There is a walkout door from the basement about 20 feet from the first wall. They are willing
to finish the patio and put in some landscaping but how to divert the attention from the edge and show that it is still useable space...thats the issue.
Commented on Apr 23, 2012
Add some COLOR to the back of the house. Won't take much. Throw some petunias in some hanging
baskets. Would be helpful to actually see what the back looks like from the door that's opening onto the backyard. If the owners are serious about doing some landscaping, they should put in easy to grow shrubs like hollyhocks and purple coneflowers...that will freshen and brighten up the yard. No one likes to think they're stuck with landscaping to be done, although, they'll likely want to do their own eventually anyway. The owners could plant some hydrangas or snowball bushes around the back, against the wall, and then use the Hollyhocks to fill in "gap" areas. Also, a tree or two might help. Will eventually provide nice shade and a place to hang a tire swing and even possibly a tree-fort. A low growing shrub like creeping phlox could bet tucked in among the purple coneflower foliage.
Be careful of what kind of water-scape used if they go that way as it could be a liability to neighborhood kids and animals.
I have four upholstered parson-type kitchen chairs that need to be recovered. Trying to determine if it will be more cost effective to recover the existing chairs or just buy new chairs.
Not sure if the pictures show the details, but the chair backs are not your typical flat back; they have a fan-like thing going on. Any guesses on what I should expect to pay to have them recovered if I'm providing the fabric?
Commented on Feb 28, 2012
You can do them yourself. Take off the old fabric, one chair at a time, so you don't get it
mixed with another chair & use it as a pattern. Then, put it back together the same as you took it off. You may wish to take pictures as you go so you can remember how to reassemble.