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Rock salt and asparagus

Posted by kept 5/6 (My Page) on
Wed, May 30, 07 at 21:27

Someone told me he contols weeds in his asparagus patch by sprinkling rock salt on the weeds. The salt is not supposed to hurt the asparagus because the roots are much deeper then the weed roots. I don't dare do it before chacking with some other folks who may have tried this.
Thanks,
Vicki


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

no, I wouldn't. Salt in the soil is what they do to kill all life in the soil, that would be really dangerous. Vinegar works. trim the weeds and spray vinegar on them.


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

That is an old time myth and you were right to be skeptical. Do not apply any salt to your soil because that is a good way to poison that soil. The Romans used salt eons ago to poison the soil of some of their conquered territory so the inhabitants of that territory would be totally dependant on Romans for food.


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

"Studies of salt application were often done despite the prevailing opinion that NaCl applications were harmful. The fictitious account about the Romans salting Carthage to destroy plant life led to misguided beliefs about the use of salt in agriculture. Studies on salt-sensitive crops like tomatoes and strawberries and roadside salt damage along highways reinforced an attitude that salt had no place in agriculture. In fact, plant physiologists have not identified an essential role for sodium in plant health and simply assumed that chloride, known to be essential for photosynthesis, was so highly available in soils that salt supplements were unnecessary." (Using sodium chloride to control plant diseases - W H Elmer).

Chloride is required by plants, but in tiny amounts and in special circumstances.


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

Well, back when I was going to University for Archaeology, we studied the cultures who's agriculture was doomed due to salts building up in the soil from the way they irrigated... the area between the Tigris and the Euphrates is an example. It WAS a long time ago... but hey, why chance it?


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

Fertilizer 'salts' are not the same thing as sodium chloride. You can create a build up of 'salts' in your own garden.....even in your container plants....by not watering properly.


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

Asparagus is very salt tolerant. It wouldnt surprise me that people salt their asparagus just enough to kill everything else. All in all sounds like a poor way to control weeds.

People tend to confuse salt with table salt. Sodium chloride (table salt) is a salt, but it is not the only salt. Fertilizers for example are salts as is gypsum and anything else that is an anion combined with a cation. So it is important to specify sodium if that is what you are talking about rather than just saying salt which can be any number of things.


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Thu, May 31, 07 at 13:16

Google salt, asparagus and you'll turn up contemporary articles from respected universities that say salt can be used for weed control, fertilizer and to suppress root diseases, and articles from other respected universities that do not recommend its use. So it's controversial. Because salt does contaminate the soil for other plants, and kills soil life, I wouldn't use it.

Interesting subject, historically.

"It was formerly believed that one of the most important ingredients of manures for the asparagus plant was common salt...Experience has shown, however, that while salt may not be harmful, there is no real fertility value in it.."

-"Fertilizers" by Edward B Voorhees, Prof. of Agriculture, Rutgers College, published in 1902


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

In areas where rock salt was used for ice control on roads why did the vegetation along side those roads not grow then next spring if rock salt does not harm vegetation all that much?


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

Weed then mulch well. Unmulched garden beds are, with very rare exception, a big no-no (IMO).


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

Kimmsr,

Different plants have different salinity tolerances. Coconuts for example grow with their roots hanging in the ocean. Most plants (like those along side the road) do not tollerate high salt levels. Asparagus does put up with a good bit of salt which is why people have apparently used salt to kill weeds out of their asparagus patch. As a general statement I would agree that rock salt is not a very good soil amendment because it increases salinity without providing anything in the way of plant nutrients.


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

03/06/2012 In regard to rock salt on asparagus,I have grown asparagus in southwest Pa. for over 15 years. I throw rock salt,(rock salt only NOT calcium chloride or snow chemicals), on my bed every year as soon as the first shoots appear.I find the spears to be larger,juicier, and more robust than without. So far as "killing the soil as the Romans did",if the soil was dead the weeds wouldn't grow and there would be no need to toss on the rock salt. Just my experience.


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

Asparagus is a Maritime plant that does benefit from salt in the soil. My father grows it and "makes the surface of the soil white with salt twice during the growing season". He never really had luck growing it until he started using salt. Now, in a thirty square foot area he harvests sixty stalks A DAY during the growing season. As far as not being able to grow other plants in the salted soil, who cares. Asparagus is a perrenial that takes a couple of years to mature. You're not going to be rotating them out anyway. Set up a special place for it and make sure the salt can't drain into other crops.


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

we mulch our asparagus bed heavily, we are first time planter and so far our seedling grew strongly, just about into winter and they are still very green.

to bolster the garden we have created a mini pile of green mulch material in the middle of the bed. in the pic the tomato's are gone now.

wouldn't use salt at all.

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

There is a farm in my area that has used salt as a herbicide for their asparagus. It works but completely ruins the soil to anything but asparagus- for all time. So think carefully on it.


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RE: Rock salt and asparagus

As I stated in 2007 it is a myth that using rock salt to control "weed" in Asparagus beds is a good practice for organic growers. The salt will kill those unwanted plants and then eventually will kill the Asparagus. Asparagus plantings a bit north of here and close to the highways that do get a does of salt in the winter show problems with the Aspapragus growing near that highway, lower yields and stunted growth.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rock salt and Asparagus


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