October 1, 2010

asparagus from seed

When I was looking into planting asparagus in the spring I was a bit discouraged from what I found on the internet. Most people grow from crowns, buy seedlings, or do their own starter plants in pots. Why did I find no one direct seeding?

In April a WWOOFer and I prepared a patch of ground. We did a typical sheet mulch by spreading grass cuttings, goat and chicken manure, some seaweed on the ground, then covered it with a layer of newspaper, wet it really well, and topped it with a thick layer of straw and compost, manure, and a thin layer of garden soil on top.

We debated what to do in the area. Perhaps let it settle a bit and plant something in the fall or wait a month and put in some summer veggies. When I mentioned planting asparagus from seed, the WWOOFer said "you can't, they will DIE!" So given my contrary nature, that's of course what I planted. I tucked in some seeds and crossed my fingers.

6 months later they are definitely not dead, but lush and leafy and looking quite a bit more mature than I expected. Maybe next year I'll be able to harvest a few spears even. My Mom continued building up the soil around the seedlings which seemed to help their stability, and sand to help drainage. She planted one little marigold seedling in the middle which has turned into a shrub, it's so big, which shows you how fertile a little sheet mulching can be.