I'm planning on planting my first vegetable garden this year, and I love fresh asparagus. Can a novice like myself be successful growing Asparagus or should I stick to the more traditional vegetables?
Asparagus isn't that difficult to grow, but it does need a dedicated area to grow.
Unlike tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, peppers, etc., Asparagus is a long-term perennial vegetable, producing for fifteen years or longer.
You'll need to select a location that will not interfere with your other seasonal crops. So, planting along a fence is not a bad location.
Asparagus is grown in a trench that is twelve inches wide and deep or a raised bed that’s eighteen inches deep and three feet across. The bed can be of any length. Asparagus plants or crowns are centered in the trench and spaced a foot apart while in a raised bed, you plant in a diamond pattern.
Soil conditioner, homemade or commercial compost is used to amend the native soil plus you’ll add vegetable food.
Two-year-old Asparagus plants are available at this time of the year, and they start producing next year. Asparagus is unpredictable from seed so it’s not advisable to plant and it takes three years to produce.
The edible part of the Asparagus plant is the young shoots or spears. They emerge from the ground in February/March while the vegetative portion is called the 'fern growth.’The ‘fern growth’ grows to a height of four to five feet and is cut off at the ground in November or December.
The spears are harvest when they get six to seven inches tall. They can be cut at an angle or snapped off just above the soil level.
The tips should be tight as once the tips loosen, the spears become tough and fibrous.
Also, you shouldn’t harvest any spears less than a half an inch in diameter.
The harvesting period is about two to three weeks once the spears start to show. So, keep a close eye on your asparagus, they grow fast!
After harvest, allow the’ fern growth’ to grow; this replenishes the nutrients for next year’s production.
How does one reproduce strawberry plants? I tried rooting the leaves with mixed results. Would I be more successful from seed?
I don't recommend reproducing strawberry plants from seeds or leaf cuttings. They are too unpredictable as you have found out.
Strawberry plants reproduce naturally from the thin narrow, stems called runners. These runners originate from the main or mother plant(s) and develop throughout the year.
When a runner touches the soil, new roots grow from that point, and a new plant form.
You can then cut the rooted runners from the mother plant and transplant the new strawberry plants.
You can get multiple plants by pinning the runners in several spots. I'd use a bobby pin or anything else that will hold the runner in place.
I'd root many more plants than you need so you can pick the most vigorous plants to keep.