Grow Luscious Strawberries & Tender Asparagus in 7 Easy Steps!

Grow Luscious Strawberries & Tender Asparagus

Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to save money and ensure that you are eating fresh, healthy produce. Strawberries and asparagus are two popular crops that are easy to grow and can be grown together in the same bed. In this article, we will provide you with 7 easy steps to grow luscious strawberries and tender asparagus in your backyard.

1. Sunshine & Soil Secrets: Choosing Your Perfect Patch

Sun-kissed dreams: Both strawberries and asparagus crave sunshine. Aim for a spot receiving at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Avoid heavily shaded areas or those with intense competition from trees or buildings.

Soil savvy: Rich, well-draining soil is key. Loosen existing soil with a shovel, incorporating compost or aged manure for extra oomph. For raised beds, use a quality potting mix specifically designed for vegetables. Test your soil’s pH; strawberries prefer slightly acidic soil (around 6.0-6.8), while asparagus thrives in neutral to slightly alkaline conditions (around 7.0-7.5). Adjust accordingly with lime or sulfur based on your test results.

2. Selecting Sweet Starts: Seeds or Transplants?

Seedlings or shortcuts? The choice is yours! Starting from seeds offers a sense of accomplishment, but requires patience and extra care. Opt for high-quality seeds and follow germination instructions diligently. For quicker results and established plants, choose healthy transplants from your local nursery. Look for vibrant foliage and sturdy stems.

Strawberry superstars: Everbearing varieties like ‘Albion’ or ‘Tristar’ produce fruit throughout the season, while June-bearing options like ‘Chandler’ offer a concentrated harvest. Asparagus takes a few years to mature, so choose crowns of established varieties like ‘Jersey Giant’ or ‘Mary Washington’.

3. Planting Power: Sowing Sweetness & Spearing Success

Strawberry savvy: Space bare-root plants 12-18 inches apart. Gently spread roots and ensure the crown rests slightly above the soil surface. Water deeply and mulch around the base to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Container gardeners, rejoice! Strawberries flourish in hanging baskets or raised planters.

Asparagus anticipation: Dig trenches about 6 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide, spacing them 3-4 feet apart. Place crowns gently in the trenches, ensuring roots spread outwards. Cover with soil, leaving the tips exposed. Be patient, asparagus takes 2-3 years to reach full production, but the wait is worth it!

4. Water Wisely: Quenching Your Garden Gems

Hydration heroes: Both strawberries and asparagus appreciate consistent moisture, but avoid waterlogging. Aim for 1-2 inches of water weekly, adjusting based on rainfall and soil conditions. Deep watering encourages strong root growth. Early morning watering is ideal to minimize evaporation and prevent fungal diseases.

Mulch magic: A layer of organic mulch around your plants works wonders. It retains moisture, suppresses weeds, and regulates soil temperature. Choose materials like straw, shredded leaves, or wood chips. Avoid placing mulch directly against stems to prevent rot.

5. Feeding Frenzy: Nourishing Your Luscious Crops

Strawberry smorgasbord: Feed your strawberries a balanced fertilizer formulated for fruiting vegetables. Apply according to package instructions, usually every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Opt for organic options if desired.

Asparagus appreciation: Asparagus is a light feeder. Apply a balanced fertilizer once in early spring before the spears emerge. Avoid overfertilizing, as it can lead to fern growth at the expense of spear production.

6. Sweet Support & Spear Savvy: Keeping Your Plants Thriving

Strawberry scaffolding: As your strawberry plants mature, consider providing support to prevent fruit from touching the soil and becoming susceptible to rot. Wire hoops or cages are popular options.

Asparagus attention: Keep the weed crown (the area where the spears emerge) free of weeds and lightly hilled with soil as the season progresses. This encourages more spear production. Once the ferns turn yellow in fall, cut them down but leave the roots undisturbed for next year’s bounty.

7. Reap the Rewards: Harvesting Your Homegrown Delights!

Strawberry satisfaction: Pick strawberries when they are fully ripe and a vibrant red color. Gently twist them off the plant, avoiding pulling on the stem. Enjoy them fresh, in jams, or baked goods!

Asparagus anticipation: Wait until the spears reach 6-8 inches tall and feel firm to the touch. Snap them off at the base, not cutting, to encourage regrowth. Harvest spears regularly throughout the season, but stop a few weeks before the first frost to allow the plant to store energy for next year.

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