Question about growing asparagus

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by Cayuga Morning, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Hi all,

    Who has grown asparagus? After having 4(?) successful years with my asparagus plot, it does not seem to be doing well.

    1) Last summer for the first time, it put out prodigious amounts of energy producing seed. I thought I had bought a variety that had more male plants than female. It looks as though I have mainly girls out there! 2) In addition to all the seed & less vigorous growth, my plants are now inundated with asparagus beetles. I use neem on them, but it doesn't seem to be touching them. Part of the problem is that there are now 3 other plots whose members are growing asparagus (this is in the community garden) so for the bugs, the Community Garden is now a bonanza.

    3) Finally, another issue is that our CG is quite wet. Clay soil. We had huge amounts of rain this spring (still are having a lot) and asparagus does not like wet feet. Every fall & spring, I add compost to the bed. Will this gradually raise the asparagus roots up? Or am I just burying them?

    Any thoughts, comments, suggestions are welcome.
     
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  3. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Pyrethrin or malathion are recommended for controlling the beetles. You may have to spray several times, depending on how much rain you are getting. We had them for the first time last year and used malathion spray. It worked, and they didn't come back this year. I think the spray also takes care of the larvae.
    Adding compost is always a good idea, but it won't raise the roots. Asparagus roots spread out a lot, so the roots will reach the amended soil eventually. We have had a lot of rain also, so my husband tilled around the bed and then we shoveled out some of the dirt, creating a drainage ditch of sorts. Moving mud is such fun:setc_063:.
    More female plants than males? The only thing I can think of is to mark the females and next spring harvest them heavily. Perhaps if the plants are putting energy into producing fronds, the seed production will be less.
    Good luck! Asparagus is one of the best vegetables a gardener can have, and as such, it's one of the most difficult.
     
  4. Growingpains

    Growingpains Young Pine

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    I had no idea there were gender plants in the asparagus family. Most of our plants have seed heads, so that may be why our supply is sparse.
     
  5. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Thanks so much @marlingardener. I just sprayed the asparagus with pyrethrin this morning. Of course it rained twice today after that, so I'll spray again later in the week. I am hopeful this will help.

    Unfortunately I can't dig a trench because I would be dumping water on the plot of the gardener below me; not particularly neighborly. I might just replace what plants have died with new sets, planting them higher in the ground. Thanks for your help.
     
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  6. Growingpains

    Growingpains Young Pine

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    A very thoughtful neighbor.
     
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  7. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    @marlingardener I just checkedmy asparagus: no grubs munching! I'll keep the pyrethrin in mind. Thanks again.
     
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  8. Growingpains

    Growingpains Young Pine

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    No grubs on the asparagus. However apparently deer are feasting on any lettuce reachable and squash vines. Only the tender leaves. One fenced area wasn't safe. Deer have long necks and he/she simply took the leaves within reach.
     
  9. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Oh Growingpains! This is Gardeningpains indeed! Are you sure it is deer? Because they can simply hop a single fence if it is less than 6-8 feet tall. Double fencing works to keep them out.

    You could try stringing monofilament (fishing line) above the fence. They can't see it, but they feel it & it can scare them away. I have found it effective.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Odif

    Odif In Flower

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    Last year the deer ate my chard and artichokes completely. They also ate my beans and then I repaired my fence. They don’t like asparagus
     
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  11. Growingpains

    Growingpains Young Pine

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    Cayuga, a groundhog has been seen. However, there appears no evidence of entry below the fence and it a groundhog managed to get over the fence, would it stop at eating only a small portion of lettuce? I think it would demolish the entire row and perhaps the peppers too. We have a Live-trap set with watermelon and a big lettuce plant. If we catch it, we will release it miles away into a huge field to join the 6 we took there last year.
     
  12. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Good luck @Growingpains! I understand groundhogs can be very destructive. I agree, you'd think a groundhog world demolish everything.

    For some reason, I have been getting off lightly this year in the pest department. Normally my home garden is besieged by deer & I am stringing monofilament, hanging soap, using Deer Away etc. Don't know why they are leaving me alone this year.

    I did have a tough time with voles this winter. Probably will next winter too. Don't know what to do about them. I have a friend who had a fox family in her yard. They pretty well take care of all the voles & moles. Wish I could attract a fox!
     
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  13. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Human hair or dog fur will repel deer. Stuff the hair (thanks to a local beauty shop) or dog fur (thanks to a grooming establishment) in the toe of a panty hose foot and suspend it in the area you want to protect. Several of these "decorative" hair balls will keep deer away, but do have to be replenished every month or so.
    Cayuga, I sympathized with Sjoerd over his mole/vole problem and told him I'd ship a coyote but I don't have the needed license to transport wild animals internationally. However, since we are on the same side of the pond, want a coyote? Coyotes love voles and moles!
     
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  14. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    MG, I would gladly take one if he promised to patrol my yard!. We do have packs of coyotes in town. Sometimes I hear them in our neighborhood but they don't seem to be touching our vole population. I have been hoping they would keep the exploding deer population in check. Coyotes are relatively new to our town.
     
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  15. Growingpains

    Growingpains Young Pine

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    Last year I found the back leg bone of a medium size deer, minus flesh and hair in a flower garden I gave up on. Apparently a coyote, one or more, had taken it down. I understand they will also eat small dogs.
    The groundhog has found a way beneath the garden fence. WE hope we took care of the entrance and exit. He avoids the live-trap in spite of bait of nice watermelon.
     
  16. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Hmmm a very wiley groundhog, huh? Our community garden extended our fence flat along the top of the ground. Like an 'L' shape to discourage the diggers like groundhogs & rabbits. Supposedly they don't realize they have dig further back, they just dig where the fence goes up & get foiled by the apron. Do you get what I am trying to describe?

    Good luck with that pesky groundhog!
     
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