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Sunday, May 19, 2013


I noticed the asparagus crowns Corinna had wrapped in a damp towel were growing right there in the dining room, so I figured I better hurry up and get the in the ground.

I looked up some YouTube videos to see how it's done, something we should have done before last year's attempt to start an asparagus bed. The trenches were already started, Corinna's research had shown we needed to dig deep and then bury them gradually as they grew.

That was what I found in my searching, too, but I found something else. That asparagus likes well drained, light soil, and if it's sandy soil all the better. And this is one of the few times where a fertilizer such as Miracle Grow is useful—and we had some of their transplant formula around for some reason, so I watered in with a little of that and threw some Tomato Tone in the trench for good measure (it has some slow-release fertilizer in it).

I knew those tubes of sand I bought for ballast in my xB last winter would come in handy somewhere in the garden. Corinna had already planted some crowns in one of the trenches, and two of them had sent up starts. The rest, not really. I think this is because the trench was essentially a clay pit, the dense, compacted dirt of the yard. I think what I did next was at least half right.

I put the crowns down and spread them so they sat upright. I spread sand on the bottom of the trenches, one QuikCrete tube of it, then barely covered it with light, fluffy compost. Then another tube of sand and another layer of compost, so the crowns were covered but barely. As they come up, the trench can be filled in with more sand and compost, but that's where I got to realizing after the fact that this might work but it would have been even better if I'd taken more advantage of the raised bed thing.

This trench is surrounded by one of our oak rails to make a raised bed. But I suspect the crowns are deeper than you'd want if you filled the bed to the brim—maybe not, but we'll probably end up filling the trench up to about ground level, maybe slightly higher. The smart thing would have been to dug out the same, filled the trench with sand and compost, then put the crowns at round level and built up from there to cover. That way the crown would start out above grade and ensure good drainage. But rather than further traumatize the things by digging it all up to start again, I figured I'd see how this does. If this year's bed doesn't take, I'll try doing one that starts out at or above grade and build it up next year.

What the hell, it's three to four years before we can harvest the stuff anyway. Once it gets going, we should have asparagus as long as we live here, though, and being that asparagus is one of my favorites, very worth the effort.

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