Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sexy In So Many Ways

Asparagus- member of the Lily family, nutritional hero, natural detoxifier and rumored aphrodisiac. Who wouldn't want a piece of that? I know I do.

The MAA suggests that "any preparation for planting asparagus should begin no later than the year before you plan to plant". Well call me impatient but I would actually like to harvest some asparagus before 2013 so I began preparation mere months ahead. In order to get ready for the Jersey Supreme (Johnny's) and Jersey Giant (Asparagus Gardener) crowns that were to arrive we filled the extra deep asparagus bed half way with a mixture of loam, compost, sand, lime and Azomite. We went heavy on the compost but added enough sand to ensure good drainage as asparagus likes a rich sandy soil.

The 2 year crowns from The Asparagus Gardener arrived first, followed by the 1 year crowns from Johnny's. I was pleased with the Jersey Giant crowns until I got a look at the Jersey Supremes which were in much better condition than the supposed 2 year crowns ordered from The Asparagus Gardener. The roots were plump and 6-12 inches in length but had broken dormancy during shipping. All 25 crowns were transplanted in on mounds 4-6 inches high and back filled with soil to 2 inches above the crowns within hours of their arrival. Crown spacing is as close to 1 per square foot as I could manage. I was nervous to bury the emerging spears but used a gentle hand and within a few days (and an e-mail to Johnny's) they had risen from the earth below and are continuing to grow faster than anything I have ever seen. The spears are quite thin, no where near the required 'pencil thick' for harvest I should see in the coming years. I have read differing opinions on what determines spear thickness; some sources say age, others relate it to depth of planting (the deeper the crowns the thicker the spear), and yet others also mention plant spacing as a factor. I am going to go with a combination of three since they all seem to have some merit. On a side note one crown disappeared it's first night in the garden, still wondering what critter ran off with my spidery asparagus crown leaving me a lonely mound in it's place.

I am still waiting for my Jersey Giant crowns to emerge. They had been buried under heavy rain prior to being shipped and were somewhat withered upon arrival. Hoping they will recover nicely and be late bloomers, not a dead mass of roots. It will be interesting to see the comparison in spear size if they do survive, to see if root length has any bearing on production and spear size.


Kelly said...

5/23 A few Jersey Giants sending up spears.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I love your blog. I just found it today! I live in NJ and my husband and I are just getting our garden started again this year. I love it!
We never grew asparagus before and my husband just ordered the roots from the asparagus gardener. Thing is, he is not ready to plant them yet..what is the best way to keep the roots?..i have them in the frig now. Do they need to be planeted immediately?


Kelly said...

Hi Kristi, just sent you an e-mail. :)