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Long Lived, but not Immortal

May 24th, 2017

There are many perennial vegetables, but that doesn’t mean that they are immortal. Often, long lived perennial vegetables exhaust themselves or slowly decline after reaching a certain age. There are many factors that contribute to this. My asparagus patch here has been on the decline, it’s pretty old. I noticed that it produces much later than my friend’s and the harvest is much smaller. This is after adding compost and amending the soil well. The plants have probably just exhausted their productivity.

Last year I started two varieties of asparagus from seed (Precoce D’Argenteuil & Mary Washington), they overwintered well and are growing nicely. I also ordered 25 crowns of each ‘Jersey Supreme’ and ‘Purple Passion’ asparagus from Nourse Farms this year. Both of these varieties grew in my Ohio garden and I was very happy with them.

It looks like I will end up with 75-100 asparagus crowns including the ones I started from seed, which will be more than we need, but neighbors never complain about it when you give them asparagus so I don’t think I will have any issue using it all up. One of the varieties I have is supposed to produce quite early, so I’m thinking about trying to maximize this by planting it in a space where I can cover it with a low tunnel for the winter and try to force an extra early harvest. I may also plant some early strawberries with it for an extra early strawberry harvest as well.

I’m always happy to add perennial vegetables to the garden, it’s nice to know that each spring I will have a lovely harvest of asparagus with not much input on my part. With a little maintenance each year, an asparagus patch will produce for many, many years. However, if your patch is on the decline, it may be time to cut your losses and start over.

Do you grow asparagus in the garden? Do you have a favorite variety?

3 Comments to “Long Lived, but not Immortal”
  1. Nebraska Dave on May 24, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Susy, I don’t have asparagus in my garden but my neighbor who gardens at Terra Nova Gardens has four beds of asparagus. I don’t mind eating asparagus but it’s not my favorite vegetable. As if you didn’t already know my favorite vegetable is sweet corn. Now that I have perfected protection of the corn, I can eat with delight.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Lorna on May 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      I have to ask. . . how do you protect your corn?! I always plant extra, with later varieties on the outside and surrounded by blue hubbard squash, and still I share with the resident raccoons!

      Reply to Lorna's comment

      • Susy on May 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm

        I use and sometimes use an electric fence, since I have them for livestock I typically just use the pig fencing for the corn and the strawberries during the season.

        to Susy's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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