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Asparagus help needed

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Asparagus help needed

Postby tfb4me » Jun 19, 2012 5:40 pm

Hello all..I'm new on here..Love this place so far! 2 springs ago I planted asparagus crowns. This spring they came up nicely. when I bought the crowns from the local asparagus farmer (50 cents each) he told me to plant them in 6 inch deep ditches and slowly fill the ditch as the asparagus came up..He also told me to not harvest for the first 2 or 3 years.So here I am 2 years later at the beginning of summer, i have huge asparagus bushes with red berries on them..2 questions..can those berries be eaten? Also can I cut the plants out without damaging the root crowns? I'm thinking the bush that grows is required for photosynthesis to make root crowns bigger..If I cut them out I'm worried the roots wont establish enough..What are the thoughts of other asparagus growers on this?
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Re: Asparagus help needed

Postby davefrombc » Jun 19, 2012 8:44 pm

The asparagus needs its fern like top growth to feed the roots for next years growth. I've never heard of anyone eating the seed pods ( red berries).
BC Fraser Valley zone 7/8
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Re: Asparagus help needed

Postby Heidi S » Jun 19, 2012 11:59 pm

Did your asparagus die back in winter, ie, dead to the ground? I get berries in the late summer, but my winters kill the top growth completely. If your plants are not killed back in winter, and are still tall with berries, you will not get the fresh shoots to eat.

I have had an asparagus patch in my Zone 3 garden for about 8 years, and in the spring - approximately the middle of May, I get new shoots starting to come up. I can cut these until mid-end of June, then let the rest of the new shoots grow to full size and flower. These stems get to about 7-8 ft in height. In late September, I cut these stems down to about 12 inches, to help hold snow cover and chuck the tops away (too tough to compost). I weed them and add a layer of compost as a mulch. Once the snow is finally gone, I cut the remaining 12 inch stems away to ground level to remove them completely. This allows full access to the new season's shoots for harvesting.

Hope this helps!
Heidi S,
Prince George, BC
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Re: Asparagus help needed

Postby tfb4me » Jun 20, 2012 10:20 am

Heidi S wrote:Did your asparagus die back in winter, ie, dead to the ground? I get berries in the late summer, but my winters kill the top growth completely. If your plants are not killed back in winter, and are still tall with berries, you will not get the fresh shoots to eat.

I have had an asparagus patch in my Zone 3 garden for about 8 years, and in the spring - approximately the middle of May, I get new shoots starting to come up. I can cut these until mid-end of June, then let the rest of the new shoots grow to full size and flower. These stems get to about 7-8 ft in height. In late September, I cut these stems down to about 12 inches, to help hold snow cover and chuck the tops away (too tough to compost). I weed them and add a layer of compost as a mulch. Once the snow is finally gone, I cut the remaining 12 inch stems away to ground level to remove them completely. This allows full access to the new season's shoots for harvesting.

Hope this helps!

Thanks Heidi, Yes my asparagus did die off over the winter..Its the new growth I'm talking about..Its very tall and falling over on to my cabbages. I want to cut them off but your post has told me not to..So i wont. Also the red berries on the female plant are in fact poisonous to humans, so don't eat them..I did a Google search..Thanks again to all for your help!
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Re: Asparagus help needed

Postby Heidi S » Jun 20, 2012 12:49 pm

I have a small fence around my asparagus patch for two reasons. I used the 2 ft metal hoops available at Home Depot. My dear dog, Molly 'loves' fresh asparagus, so I need to keep her out. As you have noted, the fronds get quite tall, and keeping them fenced in gives them some support. If you are getting a lot of rain, that will make them flop over more. I have seen others use pea fencing or a series of sticks and branches stuck along the sides to act as support as well. In my case, having the 2 foot hoop fence seems to be enough.

The main reason for leaving the fronds tall, is that this how the plant feeds its own roots. As a perennial plant, if you cut the fronds off shorter, the plant does not have a chance to replenish itself, which will lead to plant death over time. Think of how you have to leave the foliage on tulips, daffs etc. to allow the plant to prepare for next year's growth. Asparagus is a hungry plant as well, not liking weeds that compete for nutrients and enjoying a good feed of compost or well composted manure as a winter top dressing. Well fed, and managed, asparagus beds should produce for a couple of decades.

You may have noticed in my other post, I had a slug problem in my patch this year, and I had to make the difficult decision to not cut for eating this spring in order to give the plants a rest. Unfortunately, the slugs got my share!
Heidi S,
Prince George, BC
Zone 3!

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Re: Asparagus help needed

Postby pulerrer » Jul 06, 2012 12:09 am

Thank you for your sharing!


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