Growing Asparagus, Garlic, Potatoes, Strawberries

Asparagus:
Planting asparagus is a commitment to gardening in that asparagus
is a perennial and should be placed near your garden in an area where it can grow and spread each year.
Asparagus grows best in sunny well-drained soil with minimal weeds.
You will not get edible asparagus the first year and possibly the second year so be patient.
Plant your asparagus 12-18 inches apart. Make sure to eliminate weeds before planting.
Dig a depression 6 to 8 inches deep running the length of the row, mounding the amended soil on each
side for later use. Set seedlings into lowest part of the depression, planting about 2 inches deeper than they
were originally growing. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart.

Amend by tilling into your soil with mushroom compost, Nature’s Helper and Espoma Bio-tone.
As plants grow taller, rake a little of the soil on the edge of the row into the depression where plants
are growing. Soon the bed will be level. Mulch to prevent weeds.
Once asparagus plants are strong enough to be harvested, cut all new shoots in spring when they are about
8 inches tall, snapping them off at the soil line. Many seasoned gardeners use a knife to cut below the soil line,
but it is important to avoid cutting into emerging spears nearby. Also, the knife can spread any disease
from one plant to the next.

Remember, if the spear has begun opening and developing foliage, it will be too tough to eat.
To avoid this happening, plan to harvest at least every other day. Go ahead and pick all the spears each
time you harvest. Discard those that have grown too large.

Garlic
Garlic is one of the more heralded vegetables in your garden. Plant garlic cloves in the early spring,
and you will harvest garlic bulbs in summer. Home grown, freshly harvested garlic bulbs are much
stronger than those found in stores. They can be cooked and eaten by themselves deliciously.

Garlic is simple and easy to grow. Anybody, make that everybody, can learn how to grow garlic.
Plant it in soil that has been amended with a good planting mix, mushroom compost and/or soil
conditioner, in a partly to mostly sunny location and it will thrive. And, best of all, it takes little space.
It can even be grown amidst your flower garden if you are short on space.

Potatoes – Plant on hills and keep covered:
The most common form of planting is in “hills”. Prepare and loosen the soil where you will make the hill.
Place two or three potato eyes on the ground. Cover or “hill” three to four inches of soil on top of the
seed. Water thoroughly. Space center of hills a foot apart.

Fertilize every two to four weeks. A good fertilizer for potatoes contain low levels of Nitrogen, and
high levels of phosphorus. 6-24-24, or 8-24-24, are good fertilizers for potatoes. Too high nitrogen
will develop lots of green leaves and not great potatoes.

**As the plants grow, mound additional soil around the plants every week or two. Do not let the
tubers or potatoes be exposed to sunlight. You can cover the soil around the plants with
compost, mulch or even black plastic.

Strawberries:
Plant strawberries on slightly raised hills in your garden, in hanging baskets, and in strawberry pots.
Strawberries need at least 8 hours of full sun each day, and they prefer slightly acidic well drained soil.
Mix Espoma Bio-tone Starter Fertilizer into the soil before planting.
Be sure to set the plants so that their roots are well covered with soil
but the central growing bud, or crown,
is exposed to light and fresh air.
Note: If you bury the crown, the plant could easily rot.
Water them well upon planting. It is best to water at ground level if possible.
Strawberries appreciate mulch to hold in moisture and keep weeds down.
Just be careful not to cover the crown.

Fertilize with Espoma Plant-tone or another quality organic
fertilizer and water so that the plants don’t dry out (but DO NOT overwater).
 

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