companion planting asparagus

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by Melody Mc., Sep 9, 2022.

  1. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. In Flower

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    I have a well established asparagus garden, that also struggles with bountiful weeds, especially mares tail.

    I need a better plan rather than mulch and weeding so that I can maintain it without countless hours of weeding.

    I thought about companion planting daffodils amongst the plants and along the outsides of the rows.

    Has anyone else companion planted asparagus for weed control? Or have any suggestions for maintaining and weed growth prevention?
     
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  3. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    I know you said companion planting rather than mulch, but I weed well in the beginning of the season and then put down a thickish layer of salt marsh hay. Keeps the weeds down well.
     
  4. Odif

    Odif Young Pine

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    I mulch heavily for weed control. Good companion plants for asparagus are. No. 1 parsley. Asparagus also likes calendula and basil. Once I planted radishes with my asparagus and it was the biggest best radish crop I ever had.
    @Cayuga Morning That is exactly my method. In general weed young and mulch well.
     
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  5. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    I weed very rigorously in the fall, mulch very thickly.
    In the spring I peel the mulch back and weed thoroughly again, then roll the mulch back over the plots again and wait until it is planting time.

    I do not know about companion planting to keep weeds under control in an asparagus bed. I will be interested to see some ideas on here.
     



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  6. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. In Flower

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    @Cayuga Morning @Odif @Sjoerd
    Thank you for these replies.

    I used to mulch with straw. Then all of the commercial hay and straw here became contaminated with herbicide. So, I no longer purchase straw. Organic straw is impossible to source.

    Then I tried lawn clippings. They were so heavy that the asparagus had a real hard time coming through.

    This year, mid summer, I laid down some wood shavings. They seem to like that, but I will have to remove it very early spring or the soil will remain very cold. My asparagus is usually about three weeks behind others.

    I did think about raking dead long grass out of the fallow field next to the garden, maybe mowing it a couple of times? or leaving it long and trying that?

    I used straw in the spring to keep the frost off, but also for weed control.

    What is salt marsh hay CM? And what do others use for mulch? Does the asparagus still come up okay?

    Thank you so much. My knees and hands tire of the three of four big weeds I've been doing every summer.
     
  7. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Melody I am appreciating that you have tried many types of mulch. I've heard that about commercials hay & straw. And I think wood shavings would rob nitrogen from the soil as they decay.

    I live near the coast in Massachusetts & the coastal marshes have a "hay" that it cut (I think) once a year. It grows wild, no pesticides, etc. It is also weed seed free so you aren't introducing seeds into your plot. When I buy a bale & transport it in my car, I get a strong but lovely whiff of the ocean.
     
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  8. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Cayu— that is lovely- sounding stuff. I am interested to know more.

    Mel, what I use every year are the plant stems of annuals that live in the flower section of my lottie, There is a large variety of plant types and they give me quite a thick layer. I have also taken to re-using the mulch year after year, by storing the mulch after drying on one of the patios. I also use the finer mulch for the strawbs now.
     
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  9. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. In Flower

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    Wow CM....just Wow. What a gift to have access to that. That sounds really lovely.:heart: IT would be cool to see where it comes from

    I did not think of the gradual decomposition of the wood shavings. Sigh.....and hmmmmmmm :) I have four 25 ft long rows, that are about 2ft across. It takes a lot of mulch. ( as she thumbs through bulb catalogue and realizes how many dafs that would be and how expensive....bad idea - although a field of dafs would be beautiful :flower:)

    This will take some stewing.;)
     
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  10. Odif

    Odif Young Pine

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    Woodchips are my mulch of choice. Woodchips will rob a bit of nitrogen for the first 2 months and then they start to give nitrogen back to the soil. Winter can be longer hence if you mulch with 20cm of woodchips at the start of the winter, by the end it will be like good. This is my experience. It also depends on what type of wood is chipped.
     
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  11. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    What do you uuse Odif ?
     
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  12. Odif

    Odif Young Pine

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    The wood we chip is mostly ash and hazel with other leafy trees.
     
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  13. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. In Flower

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    Thanks for this Odif.

    Does the age of the wood matter in the nitrogen reaction with the soil? And may I clarify....they are pretty much broken down by the end of winter for you? They don't need to be removed and replaced?

    The chips I have right now are pine and fir, maybe some spruce. they are actually coarse shavings from a planer, so not very dense and from very dry wood. I have an older pile of a mix of courser evergreen and poplar, but it is getting scant.

    I would love to invest in a chipper, but the one's I've seen that can run on the PTO of the tractor are a few thousand dollars. There is a place in town that will rent them...a neighour and I are considering that for the spring. One of us picks it up and uses it, the other uses it and takes it back. If I can make my own chips it will be primarily alder, poplar, apsen and willow. I should perhaps look at a smaller gas powered chipper....I haven't explored it too much but it certainly would solve my mulching dilema.

    Do you have any problems with the asparagus pushing up through the chips?
     
  14. Odif

    Odif Young Pine

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    @Melody Mc. Fresh cut wood will use up nitrogen at first. If you put about a 20cm layer on your bed, they will not be broken down completely for a couple or three years. I renew my beds with 20cm of woodchips every 3 years. I do not always feed my plants growing in these beds with anything else during this time. They don’t need to be removed and replaced, just added to when they run low. The Earth doesn’t need tilling once they have a layer of woodchips and watering is vastly reduced.

    Pine and other needle trees are quite acid so they may not be suitable. Raspberries and blueberries are an exception. Older wood is good for mulching and won’t rob nitrogen.

    Sounds good to hire a chipper. The best woodchips are made from leafy trees just after they lose their leaves. Make sure you have a really huge pile of branches ready for your chipper because it eats them very fast.

    The asparagus is not hindered by the woodchip mulch in any way.

    addendum: After a while your woodchips will have loads of mycelium as fungi colonise it. You can plant many different kinds of edible mushrooms in your woodchips, for example king stropharius.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2022
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  15. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. In Flower

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    Thank you for all of the information Odif. I really appreciate it. :) Re: your addendum - my daughter has been encouraging me to grow mushrooms because of all of the rotting beatle kill pine laying on the forest floor. It is something I'm exploring :)
     
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