Thursday, April 5, 2012

::asparagus patch::

My orchard garden - before shot
  I want fresh asparagus, and lots of it.  Asparagus comes back every year so it needs to be in a permanent bed, and it is also an ugly fern like plant for most of the summer.  I don't want it right up front with all the pretty stuff, but if I hide it off in a corner of the property it will get neglected.  The patch had to be far enough away from animal pastures that no one will eat it.  It also needs lots of fun in the sun.  The first year or two it needs lots of watering, so it has to be easy access to water.  I decided that part of my orchard garden needed to be given over to the job.   
Curly head helped measure
 We tilled up the entire orchard garden, which is about 20ft by 96ft.
I plan on putting in lots of melons again and maybe some sweet corn.
The center 35 feet is going to get divided into three long beds.
One for strawberry's
One for plants to be rotated through (tomatoes - beans - etc)
And one for asparagus

After tilling Josh took the tractor and dug out a two foot deep trench.
Some well done formerly-fecal-compost made from last year fine manure of every animal on this farm was scooped in to fill all but the top three inches.

Formerly Fecal Compost ready to be dumped in.

Two big buckets of wood ashes got added next to improve that soil.
Bone meal or wood ashes are recommended to supplement the start of an asparagus bed.
I would love to tell you I used wood ash because I am super organic, but really I am just super cheap and happen to need to clean the pot belly stove.  
After the stage was set I carefully planted each precious little baby asparagus.  I bought a very common variety called Martha Washington.  I think I bought it at my friendly area Rural King.  
Lastly I raked back on the top three inches of soil.  This left a little hill next to the asparagus patch of extra soil.  I think it is just going to help protect it from the mower.
In a few more weeks I will go back and line the whole area with landscape timbers to define it as a no walking or digging space (MAX!). 

Compost down and wood ashes getting spread on top. 
Next year we will not have spears to harvest.  The next year we may have some.  But from them on out we will should be lousy with the stuff.  I can not wait.  I think that fresh asparagus tastes like spring.  

Here is a link to the brochure that Purdue has published on planting asparagus. I found it very helpful.

Also - there is plenty more compost for anyone who would like a scoop.  Free for the taking :)


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