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Video: Growing Conditions And Propagation Of Asparagus
Read the previous part. ← Asparagus - biological features and healing properties
Asparagus is generally an unpretentious plant, but in order to get tender and tasty shoots, it needs to create certain conditions.
- It grows well on loose sandy loam soil rich in nutrients. On poor soils, shoots become fibrous and tough. Asparagus grows poorly on heavy clay and cold soils.
- Does not tolerate acidic soils, does not like even slightly acidic soils.
- Does not tolerate close standing groundwater, however, during growth requires sufficient moisture. With a lack of moisture, the shoots are tough and bitter; with an excess of moisture, the roots rot.
- Very fond of the sun, grows well also with little shade.
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Breeding methods for asparagus
Asparagus is propagated mainly by seeds, through seedlings in an open ridge or in a greenhouse, nursery. In addition to seed, reproduction is possible in spring by dividing old bushes into several parts. In the fall, this method is not always successful, because delenki in winter sometimes die, especially if they are taken from bushes that are not their first youth.
Growing asparagus seedlings
Seeds can be sown for seedlings at home in March-April. However, there will be less hassle, and the seedlings are of better quality if they are sown in a seedling bed or in a warm place specially allocated in the garden. In this case, the best sowing time in the Leningrad region is the first decade of June. To accelerate the emergence of seedlings before sowing, the seeds are soaked for 2-3 days, changing the water daily, then put on a damp cloth on a platter for 7-8 days until the seeds hatch.
Then the hatched seeds are sown on a prepared place to a depth of 3 cm in rows with a distance of 20 cm between them, in a row - 5 cm. Immediately after the emergence of seedlings, they are thinned out, leaving a distance of 15-20 cm. You should not leave the thinning procedure for later, because plants, the roots grow strongly, and it will be very difficult to pull them out of the ground without disturbing the neighbors.
Seedling care is weeding, feeding, loosening the soil. In dry weather, watering is required. They are fed immediately after germination with ammonium nitrate and three weeks after the first feeding - with slurry.
By the fall of the first year, well-groomed seedlings have 2-3 stems and a developed root system. For the winter, plantings are mulched with a layer of peat or compost. At the same time, they begin to prepare the ground for planting seedlings in a permanent place.
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Preparing the soil for planting asparagus
For good growth and active formation of shoots, all perennial rhizomes of weeds must be removed from the planting site. The soil must be loosened to a depth of 30-40 cm. Then deacidify it with lime or chalk until it is almost neutral. For each future plant, add 3-4 shovels of rotted manure or humus, or a bucket for each square meter of planting, add complete mineral fertilizer - according to the instructions for it. You can try adding fertilizer AVA and see what happens, because so far there is no such experience.
An excellent planting option is to dig a hole with a diameter and depth of up to 40 cm under each plant, put a layer of rotted manure 15-20 cm on its bottom, sprinkle a heap of garden soil 10 cm high on it. Place a plant on this heap, spread the roots over it, cover them with a layer of soil with humus 5-7 cm thick. As the shoots grow, this layer is increased to the edges of the dug hole.
Planting asparagus in a permanent location
In the spring of next year, seedlings with a strong root system and three shoots are selected and planted in a permanent place. If the seedlings are weak, then you can leave them in the nursery until the fall of next year. By this time, with good nutrition, the seedlings will have time to bloom, and it will be possible to select among them male or female specimens - who likes what better. On female specimens, berries are formed.
The best dates for planting seedlings in a permanent place in our area is the first half of May. It can be planted in the second half of August (dates are indicated without taking into account climate warming).
If you propagate asparagus by dividing the bush, then the rhizome is cut with a knife at the dug out bush (they are clearly visible), which are planted in a permanent place in the same way as seedlings. The next spring, the plants are spud up to a height of 25-30 cm (or throw a pile of hay on them). When the tops of the head appear, the shoots are cut off and carried to the kitchen. Thus, when propagating asparagus by dividing the bush, we save a couple of years.
When planting in a permanent place, you need to remember that we plant the plants for 15 - 20 years, and over time they will grow strongly. Therefore, the planting does not need to be thickened, but 35-50 cm should be left between the bushes.
Asparagus care and harvest
In the first two years after planting in a permanent place, the plants are hilled two or three times during the summer, fed with mineral and organic fertilizers, weeded, loosened the soil. For the winter, the stems are cut, the soil is loosened and covered with rotted manure.
In the 3rd year (i.e. the 4th year after sowing the seeds), you can start harvesting the shoots. Plants that are covered with humus or are highly huddled form white shoots, because such shoots grow only in the dark. They are called bleached or etiolated. Usually in the spring the plants are hilled high for bleaching purposes. I manage to get white shoots easier: in the spring I throw piles of hay or cut weeds on the asparagus bushes that have not yet woken up. Then I remove the hay and cut off the shoots that have grown under it.
Green shoots do not huddle and are harvested at a length of 15-18 cm, when they have a dense head. Shoots are cut daily as needed. This must be done carefully so as not to damage the roots with buds.
The youngest bushes are harvested within 2-3 weeks. With older plants, this pleasure can be extended for a month and a half. Then the asparagus is fed with mineral fertilizer. After that, the plant is given complete freedom of growth and the opportunity to make food reserves for the next season. It is imperative to feed the asparagus, otherwise it will quickly deplete. Once every 3-4 years, you need to give organic fertilizer, better - rotted manure.
Usually in our region the first harvest is ready in the second half of May. Under a film cover, you can get a crop even earlier, it all depends on the weather.
Cut off shoots that did not immediately reach the kitchen counter can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
So, I don't want to plant asparagus - it seems that it will not grow soon. However, in reality, three or four years will pass quickly and unnoticed. And then it turns out that luxurious asparagus bushes are growing in your garden. Three bushes are enough for a small family.
Now on sale there are seeds of many varieties of asparagus, differing in the height of the bush, early maturity, the color of young shoots, etc.
Asparagus for garden decoration
One female specimen can be planted. Over the years, it grows into a powerful, multi-stemmed, spectacular bush. It looks very beautiful, especially in autumn, when the bush is covered with beads of red berries, and the needles turn yellow. If one stalk with berries is left uncut for the winter, then in the spring they will self-sow. Self-seeding grows wherever asparagus seeds come in. Sometimes it happens that the compost heap is overgrown with tender bright green fluffy asparagus.
Caring for ornamental asparagus is the same as for asparagus planted as a vegetable. It can be fed less and watered less, it will still grow and bear fruit, only the shoots will be thinner, and the bush will grow less lush. An adult bush will not be able to defeat even the most vicious weeds.
Asparagus branches can be used not only in bouquets, but also to remember ancient ancestors. For example, the ancient Greeks revered asparagus as one of the plants of Aphrodite herself and decorated newlyweds with its twigs. The Romans considered the branches and roots of asparagus miraculous and wore them on the body as an amulet. What if there really is something in this?
Read the next part. Asparagus Dishes →