Monday, May 11, 2015

Asparagus failure

One of three asparagus plants that survived winter.
I think it's important to write about both successes and failures. Well, what are failures if they're not learning experiences? So we'll call it a set back :-)

Last summer Jay and I were very busy in our backyard, and built some raised beds well after the chicken coop was complete, sometime in July.  While I had purchased 20 crowns of asparagus early in the spring, I didn't get around to putting them in the ground until mid-summer. All but a few came up and I diligently packed dirt around the new shoots as they grew out of the soil. I covered the whole thing with hay mulch in autumn and this spring, I waited eagerly for the asparagus to return.

Unfortunately, only three plants returned. I suspect it's because I planted them so darn late in the season, they didn't have enough time to build roots to survive the winter. As I was digging news holes for this year's plants, I uncovered one of the old crowns. Most of it was dead, but you can see below three white roots that seemed to be alive. I wonder had I not dug it up if this would have survived. I found a few other crows too, but they were entirely wilted and starting to rot.
One of last years crowns showing a little bit of life.

Newly dug trench for this year's crowns.

So this year I dug the trenches a little deeper, put a little more compost in the holes, and planted them in May. I'm looking forward to a vibrant asparagus crop for years to come.

A happy new crown, planted deeply, and at the right time of the year!

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