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Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

Posted by obrionusa 5 (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 2, 09 at 19:41

First asparagus patch and was wondering what others have used for mulch to help reduce the weeds. First thought was straw, But straw sems to have a lot of wheat and thistle seeds. Anyone ever try hardwood wood chips? I have acesss to the material at a decent cost. If you dont know what I'm talking about its a little larger than playground mulch. I would love to use grass clippings. But I dont have acess to that unless I start bagging my clippings. Thanks All!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

I was going to chime in with straw but...

Are you sure you got straw and not hay? You can get weed free straw, the kind used for seeding lawns. Hay is full of weed seeds.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

I wouldn't use wood chips since that mulch would seriously deplete available nitrogen for the asparagus. I know the crowns are deep down, but asparagus does require nutrients. I use a light shredded-leaf mulch and I feed the plants. I can get in there and do some weeding if needed. I wonder if it would be OK to have clover as a mulch, or would that compete too much?


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

Clover is a good idea. I was thinking of a mow strip in between my rows.. Then wood chips come to mind.. The straw I get is wheat straw.. Would love to have straw of oats, but thats ironic for this area.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

I use pine straw here. Lots of it available in my yard.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 2, 09 at 22:04

Wood chips are best, simply because you need to mulch every two years. Straw and pine straw last one year, and grass clippings last two months. Straw is full of seeds. It is not true that wood chips as mulch deplete N, specially at depth. They will acidify things, which is not good for asparagus, but not as much as pine straw. I use wood chips, and add wood ash to help the pH and urea to fertilize during the dormant season.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

Wood chips mixed into the ground would deplete N, but not on top of the soil.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

I agree about the wood chips ~ so long as you don't till them in, they'll be fine. If you're organic, you can fertilize with manure tea (ie compost tea made with composted manure instead of regular compost) or fish emulsion to get the N needed without having to disturb the mulch.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

For centuries people salted asparagus to control weeds (asparagus is one of the most salt tolerant plants known). When chemicals became available after WW II, people stopped salting commercial beds, and fusarium crown rot began to appear. A study posted by the Salt Institute several years ago compared two plots, one salted and one unsalted. Fus. Crown Rot was introduced, and it took hold in the unsalted plot, but not the salted. My asparagus plot already had FCR, but I began applying food grade rock salt every year in late winter. By the third year, the difference was enormous in the health of the plants (tremendous yield and the ferns not falling over and turning yellow in August). I've been doing it for at least 7 years now with superb results and no harm to any plants nearby.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

this is my second year and year to cut/eat asparagus. The chickweed was starting to take over so I used mulched leaves in a thick layer for mulch. I hope this works.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

4' of salt water for over 24 hours didn't do a thing to the asparagus bed in our community garden. Didn't stop a single weed either. I'm going next week to pull weeds.
Tally HO!


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

Agreed with the wood chips. Any sign of N deficiency you can correct easily. I'm trying to get approval from the MIL for a bed that will have asparagus and will put in wood chips for mulch.

Dan


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

lacyveil, tell me more about the rock salt. Do you sprinkle it? How much for a 4X24 bed each year? When to apply? I find this very interesting and will consider trying it.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

This is the email I recieved from my mulch vendor, Keep in mind I do Landscape work as a profession.
Checked on the effect sof step will have on asparagus plants, if you are merely putting a walking path next to the plants to make it easier to wall thru them
The sof step will have no effect on your plants whatsoever. But if you place it directly on the planting, it will rob it of a certain amount of nitrogen in the initial decomposing stages, then it will put nutrients back into the soil as it does decompose. Sof step is a natural virgin wood product, it does decompose much slower than regular mulch.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

Yes salt will help to control weeds, and yes asparagus is salt tolerant, BUT in the long term salt is not good for your soil. Think about trees and grass growing along salted roadways and sidewalks. Mulch is a much better option. My personal preference is for straw or shredded leaves. Yes I have to replenish it more frequently but I don't mind as I like that I'm adding organics to the soil. Wood chips do as well, my reason for not using woodchips is simply because I use so much of it around trees and shrubs and I never have enough.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

I use about 3/4 lb of rock salt for about 27 feet of 18 inch wide bed. I have very sandy soil, so I suspect it washes out fairly fast. In heavier soil, you might want to use less.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

"But if you place it directly on the planting, it will rob it of a certain amount of nitrogen in the initial decomposing stages, then it will put nutrients back into the soil as it does decompose." Yes, it will tie up "a certain amount of nitrogen", but only in the top few inches of soil. Relatively speaking, that means that "certain amount of nitrogen" isn't much ~ again, only in the top few inches of soil. The majority of roots are much deeper than that.

Think about this: If wood chips/bark/etc. used as mulch tied up a good portion of the nitrogen in the soil, enough to really affect plant growth negatively, no one would ever use it to mulch anything. Yet it's widely used with no ill effect. Quite the contrary, if there are any ill effects, they are far outweighed by the benefits.

But, if you're really nervous about using it, I wouldn't. Gardening is supposed to be a relaxing pastime, not a cause for more worry. :)


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

Yes, with roots going down to 12 ft, two inches of depletion means nothing. And, overall wood chips add nitrogen, because their bacterial decomposition proceeds through nitrogen fixation.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

Check with your local bulk supplier of mulch to see if they sell compost (lots of cities now sell composted yard waste as part of their recycling efforts). I use compost on my entire garden as mulch. That way when the season is over , I simply turn it into my soil, of course the aspargus patch does not get turned but the compost still improves my soil.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

When you see where the spears are coming up, lay several sheets of newspaper between them. Cover that with about an inch of old bark mulch.

The bark mulch will break down slowly and not affect the soil below because of the newspaper. It will all break down by Fall and settle into the soil gradually.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

Forget the mulched leaves since chickweed came up right through it. Now for the bark mulch.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

I use 2 weed controls. First, in January, I cut off the ferns and cover the bed with black plastic until the first spear emerges.

After I stop harvesting, I put down a few thicknesses of newspaper between the plants and add 2 inches of composted shredded mulch.


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RE: Asparagus bed, What do you use for mulch?

Think about this: If wood chips/bark/etc. used as mulch tied up a good portion of the nitrogen in the soil, enough to really affect plant growth negatively, no one would ever use it to mulch anything.

No.

N is tied up for the period of time the decomposers use available soil N to do their metabolic processes. After that, N is free in the soil. Any fine asparagus roots near the surface would be unable to absorb N.

Nonetheless, yardenman has an excellent technique.

Dan


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