Asparagus -- add clay soil or sand?

midlin(5B)April 24, 2012

Hi, planted 200 crowns of Jersey Supreme.

Had hoped to get Jersey Knight since I have clay silt loam (not heavy clay, but a really thick loam). Trenches are 'loosely' covered with 3-4 inches of heavy loam (as loose as heavy clay silt loam can be!), and will be 6-7 inches deep when filled in.

Any problems with Jersey Supreme in non-sandy soil? Does Jersey Knight really do better in soils with clay? Anyone add sand into the asparagus when filling?

Extensions say not to get too wet, so I had not watered until now. Subsurface stayed moist but the surface got really hard so I started to water lightly. The asparagus has not come up after 9 days. Some are close, and some have only started budding. How long do they take to come up (cool/light frosts)? How much have others watered to help emergence?

The area is on a slope, and I would rather not have drainage soak into just the sand and rot the crowns unless sand has helped others.

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Be patient. A couple of crowns I moved last year are just coming to life, though the established plants are well on their way.

Have you mulched the surface with something biodegradable? I think that will be much more useful than taking any other step. The roots will move up or down to find their most comfortable depth over a period of years, and it all works best with good top-down fertility that creates habitat for night crawlers and suppresses weeds.

Asparagus is a great plant for a slope. Stop worrying, the drainage will take care of itself.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:40AM
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Can anyone tell the difference in the different Jersey varieties?
4 years ago I planted 10 crowns of Jersey Knight, Jersey Supreme and Jersey Giant.
I cannot tell much of a difference, though I haven't kept track of how many spears I have harvested from each plant, just looking down the row it looks about the same. I am thinking with just a few plants it won't make much difference, maybe if you had acres it would show a difference in volume.
This year I wanted 20 more plants and the Garden Center I bought from only had Jersey Knight and Jersey Supreme so I bought 10 of each. I planted them March 20 and as of last night I can see 18 plants. I live in WI and it was 80 when I planted them but now we are much more normal with getting frosts almost every night.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 8:54AM
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Thanks Planatus- no mulch yet (trenches only part filled). What works well for asparagus? Wood chips?

Thanks Buckyz4 - will be patient. Had read emergence in a week through 6 inches, but that must be an over-generalization and too short a time.

Did you fill in the trenches all the way at planting?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Right now I'm throwing grass clippings on my asparagus, but that supply will soon run short and I'll switch to a mixture of weathered sawdust and wood chips. My garden soil "eats" a lot of wood and has a good appetite for the stuff.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 7:45AM
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I planted 40 Jersey Knight crowns in clay soil last May; it was cold and wet until June. I read conflicting information about planting in clay soil, whether to amend it, what depth to dig the trenches. So I loosened the soil about a foot deep, forked the subsoil a little and replaced the original soil mixed with compost and a few natural amendments to within 6" from the top. Planted the crowns, covered them with a couple of inches of soil and compost. It took about a month for all the spears to come up. Of 40 planted, about 38 came up.

So far only about half have come up this spring, but I expect most if not all to emerge. They look pretty healthy.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 12:46AM
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