Friday, 25 April 2014

Asparagus and More In The New Potager

Slowly but surely the new potager is coming together... hubby was able to build five of the raised beds so far, to get me started on planting this spring.
The new beds are 4' wide and 40' long with 4' pathways to allow for wheelbarrows and such...

The new potager in it's early stages....
on a very wet and boggy spring day ; ) 

The first thing to go in are the perennials, as they will be here for 20 years or more ... things like the horseradish, asparagus, and, of course, rhubarb.

Horseradish, by the way, is a very happy grower/spreader and so gets it's very own 4' x4' bed ... to prevent it from taking over the rest of the gardens. There is not much to say about planting horseradish. Lay the root on it's side in the bed, three inches deep, and it will grow.

Rhubarb, too, is fairly straight forward. Plant it in a bed that has been amended well with manure or compost as it is a heavy feeder. Dig a hole and pop in your plant at the same depth as it was in the pot. Do not bury the top of the crown where the leaves are coming out. Water in and watch it grow. Each fall, top dress around the rhubarb with a few inches of manure.

Asparagus, is a family favourite veggie so it has always been a must in the garden.
My personal favourite is the Sweet Purple. It is touted to be sweeter and less stringy than the greens, but I like it simply for the colour. Love to have varying hues in the salad and at the table.
However, if I were planting up a green variety, I would go with Jersey Knight, as it has bigger and tastier spears than some of the other older varieties.    


  Here are the asparagus roots getting all re-hydrated and plumped up in a liquid seaweed water bath.
  
 
 
Make a trench about 6 to 8 inches deep and wide.
Build a small mound down the centre of the trench.
Lay the asparagus roots over the mound with the roots hanging down the sides of the mound like octopus legs.
Place them 12 to 18 inches apart.
 

In my 4' wide bed I  was able to make two rows, about 1.5 feet apart.  
Cover the roots so that the crown is about 2 inches below the soil.
As they start to grow and you get green tops, keep covering through the summer till you have a level garden bed again.
 
As a general guide, 6 to 8 asparagus roots will give you a good crop of asparagus annually, for a family of 4 or 5 people. 
 
I decided to plant 12 for us. Although currently, we only have the two of us at home, we have adult children and hopefully someday, lots of grandbabies ; )
 
Here are the step-by-step planting instructions... http://thenittygrittypotager.blogspot.ca/2013/03/planting-asparagus.html