Asparagus, a European Delight

I planted Asparagus (Asparagus officialis) last spring hoping it would do well here in the mountains. It was fine through last summer’s drought and sandstorms, and made it through the winter cold alternating with warm days.

Asparagus is easy to grow, it is a perennial and comes back stronger every year. On the Oregon Coast it will seed out and naturalize. Mary Washington is one traditional variety that has male and female plants that might naturaluze. Jersey Giant is all male and does not seed out. I never found asparagus seedlings in Texas, but always had fresh spears in late winter.

I have good spears up from all six plants!

This year I will not eat them because my climate is harsh and I prefer they gain strength. In any event, you can only cut them for up to two months, then you need to allow the spears to mature and feed the plant. They produce for 10-15 years without replanting.

Asparagus is a large ferny plant and pretty behind bold flowers. They like rich soil so I added compost in the planting bed and used compost as mulch. My soil is poor so I will top dress with compost every year.

In front I planted Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) for bold summer flowers and hot winter tea. I dry the leaves but not the roots (I hate to kill them for the roots). Coneflower likes rich soil and will do well with asparagus. It will multiply and can be dried, transplanted to other parts of the garden, or given to others.

In this bed I have allowed Purple Verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida) to grow around the Asparagus and Coneflower. Its blue purple makes the Coneflower seem pinker and it blooms from late winter through late fall.

These are all planted on the sunny southwest of a Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis) and Elderberry (Sambucus neomexicana) as part of my food forest. Polyculture keeps pest problems down and I have no worries about eating toxins. Compost adds nutrients that support healthy soil microbes and do not end up in the oceans causing algae blooms. Algae blooms are a major cause of the acid rain destroying trees on the East Coast.

Elderberry are favored by chickens and I will dry some fruit for their winter snacks. I planted two others for wildlife use. This area will attract birds, butterflies, and bees. I haven’t added a hummingbird plant in this grouping, but am looking for a native Penstemon or other tubular flower.


About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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