Asparagus companion- strawberries?

dirtslinger2(6)January 16, 2009

That is my deep thought for today...would strawberries make a decent companion for asparagus? I recently bought some strawberry seed (alpine alexandria)which is a non runner which would likely be of benefit?

Strawberries seem to have a smaller rootsystem, and grow low.

I've been trying to think of anything that may work- the only other would be garlic.

Thanks.

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Can I ask why you are seeking a companion for asparagus? It generally prefers it's own bed and is most often planted that way. It doesn't really tolerate competition for water, root space, or for nutrients. And the ferns at 3 feet in height will hide/shade anything low growing anyway.

Some will occasionally stick a tomato plant or 2 in with it as the tomatoes supposedly repel asparagus beetles.

Dave

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 10:51PM
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dirtslinger2(6)

Why... really, for fun. I've found strawberries fairly good at mulching out weeds when planted close.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 11:06PM
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clumsygrdner

Well, in my opinion any other plant in the asparagus bed is a weed because it takes away nutrients from my precious crop. Which is really too small for me. :( I should expand it this spring.

Gah! So much to do!

But if you want to and don't mind a slightly reduced yield, have at it! Just make sure to amend the soil well.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 6:28AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Why... really, for fun. I've found strawberries fairly good at mulching out weeds when planted close.

Then assuming that asparagus to eat is your goal, I'd suggest you use heavy organic mulch such as compost or straw or old hay in the gus bed instead. Not only will it reduce the weeds but it will feed the gus as it decomposes. Plant the alpine berries someplace else and that way you'd have the ideal growing conditions for both rather than risking production for both.

Dave

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 11:42AM
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glib(5.5)

I don't see it that way, I think it is a decent idea worth trying. Alpine strawberries are tiny, understory plants, with shallow roots. The gus roots will be a lot deeper, and asparagus needs to be mulched anyway.

Would anyone object if he were to call the alpines a "living mulch"? There are a lot of people who plant clover under their cabbage. That provides N but takes away everything else. I myself mulch garlic (another tall plant with weed problems) with lettuce, and garlic makes it a tiny bit easier for lettuce by providing a bit of shade in June and July. And all it takes, in reasonably rich soil, is a bit more water and a bit more N.

Vegetable companionship works not only chemically but also at the level of providing shade or mulch. So long as they don't try to poison each other, like, say, onions and beans, it should work.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 1:26PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Normally I'd agree with you glib - living mulch is a good thing in some circumstances. The problem here is the specific crop - asparagus. It simply won't tolerate competition and thrive. Even with my older well-established beds of gus, it they aren't kept groomed of any competitors the production falls off markedly.

But hey - it's dirtslinger2 garden and we learn by experimentation. ;)

Dave

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 2:42PM
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never-give-up

If 1 year asparagus roots were planted this spring do you see any reason garlic couldn't be planted between them in the fall? Would the asparagus roots/tops get big enough to compete if I only did it this year?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 4:36PM
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bucktales

If I plant a row of asparagus and the next row of whatever (would be different each year) is 2.5' away, will that be far enough that it won't compete with the asparagus for nutrients or get shaded too much? The asparagus would be the south-most row in my garden.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 10:38PM
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holly-2006

I have no experience with growing asparagus at all, but I can tell you that Alpine strawberries (mine at least) grown from seed are certainly not "low growing" at all! They got to be about knee high. I inter-planted bulb onions with them and they shaded out the onions.

Had to move the onions to another bed.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:15AM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

If they're non-runners I don't see the strawberries competing with the asparagus, which have staggeringly far and deep reaching roots - try digging up an established crown. Shade and roots from trees are what stunt the growth of some of our asparagus. I'd worry more about getting berries, with those big ferns shading them.

Garlic needs a lot of sun to bulb well, and seems a bad companion for asparagus.

I've planted lettuce, chard and arugula between our asparagus and they do well. The arugula has been self-seeding for two years, abundantly.

I like your general idea of using alpine strawberries as a ground cover.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:56AM
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thefarmguy

hey dirtslinger2, we have a large established bed of gus, aprox 20 ft by 60ft, the center of the rows are about 6 ft apart,, we have had great success with strawberries in a portion of it, we find the harvesting schedual of the two is about the same as we have to do a picking atleast every 2 days durring production, we let the indian runner ducks in ONLY until the fruit starts to set on the berries, they really have helped with our west coast slug problems(slugs seem to love strawberries as much we do), for us the spear production starts near the same time as the berries. as it is such a large bed we also grow a few squash in with the gus durring the summer, perhaps it reduces the gus production but seems to shade the understory weeds and we water both with soaker hoses, durring the rare dry spells, we have also tried pole beens, corn, with success, we restrict our interplanting to just portions of the gus patch.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 12:23PM
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chinamigarden(z5 MI)

Bucktales,
If I were you I would make the asparagus the northern most row. In just a couple of years my asparagus plants were topping out at 6-7 feet tall and are very dense, they will throw a lot of shade.

Every asparagus "how to grow" link I have ever been on has commented on how asparagus should be grown without any competition. Of course everything I have ever read says how asparagus requires this and that in order to produce, and yet it grows wild all over the place without any human assistance. Ditches have weeds, poor sun, too much water...yet you can find asparagus plants in ditches througout the county that survive year after year.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 12:28PM
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never-give-up

Thanks paulns, I'll find another spot.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 1:04PM
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bucktales

chinamigarden - thanks, I had no idea they got that tall. My northernmost row was going to be a trellis the whole length with peas, cucumbers, pole beans, etc....

Not sure what I should do now...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 1:34PM
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chinamigarden(z5 MI)

Bucktales,
I put mine on the west side of my garden. I get full sun from 6:00-5:00 pm before the asparagus starts to shade anything.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 4:24PM
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bucktales

chinamigarden - good thought. I'll have to try that. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:55PM
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roper2008 (7b)(7b)

I know your message is a little old,but I have been reading,
Old Time Garden Wisdom (a gift from friend). In the good
neighbor planting section, for Asparagus is list: tomatoes, parsley,
basil and nasturtiums .

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 10:29PM
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