new asparagus bed and mulching

defrost49October 31, 2008

We started a new asparagus bed this year but didn't give it as much attention as we should have. Here it is the end of October and we finally got the bed weed but still haven't filled in the trenches as much as the books recommended.

This year I also planted in a lasagna bed for the first time after starting it in summer '07 while we were moving and renovating the house. The bed did wonderful but next year I won't plant so densely.

Would it be ok to put a layer of newspaper between the rows of asparagus and then mulch/sheet compost on top of them? We have a pile of rocky soil to re-fill the trenches but after weed and rock removal there won't be enough soil to bring trench up to grade level. I still have a pile of grass clippings (big yard). Should be able to get more leaves. How many inches of each should I layer? Is too much going to smother or burn the roots? I'm also in search of manure and hope this would be the top layer. Would I be foolish to put horse manure on the bed? I keep hearing it has too many weed seeds.

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My dad has always been pretty good at growing asparagus. All he does is every fall put all of the leaves and grass clippings on top and till then in in the spring. Just so you understand just how much he puts on in the fall. He's getting all the leaves, shredding them with the mower from about 4 acres that are bordered by woods on 3 sides. Then again there's an old asparagus bed he abandoned that still does quite well; because lots of leaves naturally collect there every year.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 9:59AM
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What kind of soil do you have?
How well does that soil drain?
What you propose would be good, providing your soil drains quite well since Asparagus roots do not like being in saturated soils. Manure should never be put on a garden bed, compost any manure you can get first and put the compost on the bed.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 7:30AM
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kimmsr, I'm afraid we've already made a mistake in the garden location. We've had a wet summer and it is obvious the soil does not drain very well. After a rain, water sat in the trenches for awhile. We didn't realize this until after the roots had been planted. There's a boggy meadow nearby. Guess we'll cross our fingers and not be surprised if the roots don't survive our NH winter.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 11:10AM
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The amount of rain in a given amount of time determines more about drainage than the fact that some water accumulated in the ditch. Even with the sand we have here a rain of several inches even over a fair period of time will fill the drainage ditches but may not saturate the soil.
To determine drainage rates dig a hole in the soil 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water dains away refill that hole with more water and time how long it takes for that water to drain away. Any time less than about 2 or 3 hours indicates a soil that drains too rapidly, any time longer than 6 hours does indicate a soil that may not be draining properly, and if the water stays put for several days indicates a real problem.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 6:37AM
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