Asparagus is one of the premium crops for the home vegetable gardener. Once it is established, it requires almost no care, and an asparagus bed can last up to ten years before it needs thinning or moving. If you want to move your asparagus bed or your neighbour has a great bed that needs thinning and you are going to get the extra crowns, follow the steps below for a beautiful asparagus crop in just one year.
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Things you need
- Garden fork
- Compost or high-nitrogen fertiliser
Prepare your own bed to receive the transplanted roots. Do it in the autumn, so that your bed has a chance to settle, and the compost has time to decompose and become part of the soil. Select a sunny location that won't create shade for other vegetables when the ferns grow, over the summer.
Dig a trench at least 30 cm (1 foot) wide and the same depth. Make sure there is at least 15 cm (6 inches) of loose, crumbly soil in the bottom of the trench.
Add 5 cm (2 inches) of compost and cover with loose soil. Pile the loose soil into a mound the length of the trench.
Prepare the plot
Prepare a bucket of bleach solution. Use 15 ml (1 tbsp) of bleach for each 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of water. Dip your fork into this bucket before making every cut into the bed. This will prevent the transfer of disease organisms from one bed to another.
Dig your crowns in the early spring, while the plants are still dormant. Uncover the crowns to be moved, and gently separate the roots to release the plants you are moving. This will be easier if your are moving an entire bed; just lift everything out and keep it intact.
Move your crowns to the new bed. Lay the roots out over the soil mound, then cover with additional soil to fill the trench. You can add another 2.5 cm (1 inch) of compost when you get to the top of the trench, then cover that with 2.5 cm (1 inch) of soil to finish.
Water thoroughly to compact soil and moisten the crowns. Make sure the bed stays slightly damp, either trusting to the rains or watering them yourself.
Move the asparagus
Tips and warnings
- Asparagus really likes sandy, loamy soil.
- You can dig your new bed in the spring just before you move your crowns, but it's really best to give it time to settle and let the soil and compost age over the winter. This is an excellent way to increase production in a bed that has slowed down. It probably just needs thinning.
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