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It is perfectly possible to grow asparagus as part of your permaculture food forest or edible landscape design. With the following tips and tricks, you can get started on growing a permaculture asparagus patch that will thrive for up to 20 years.
Growing asparagus is a rewarding, delicious, and healthy gardening experience and makes a great starter plant for a permaculture edible landscape or food forest. Learn how to grow asparagus spears perfect for a healthy side item at meal times or for clubbing thine enemies. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
Where Should I Plant My Asparagus Plants in My Permaculture Food Forest?
One of the best ways to ensure that you give your asparagus plants a good start for fast and healthy growth is making sure you plant them in the perfect spot. There are a lot of things to consider before planting your asparagus; as it is a perennial, it needs to be left in the same place for the next several years in order to develop a good and strong root system to support top growth. This top growth will be the asparagus spears that emerge in the spring, be harvested by cutting them off close to the ground, and become a healthy snack or a side dish for dinner.
Asparagus plants will grow well in full sun but also tolerate a lot of shade as they fern out and gather energy in the summertime for next spring’s crop. This makes them great companions for fruit trees which I use as living trellises to guide the long tendrils of the summertime asparagus plants through, keeping them off the food forest floor.
How to Plant Asparagus Using No Dig and Deep Mulch Gardening
1. Asparagus Plants As a Hedge In Your Permaculture Food Forest
The asparagus plant hedge is not only edible and nutritious, it is also beautiful and soft once you allow your asparagus plants to fern out and gather energy for the next season. They become quite tall and have an upright, flowy nature to them that gives you the flexibility to also use them for their ornamental quality in a permaculture food forest.
Because of this upright nature, several asparagus plants planted in rows will become something of a soft hedge once the summer time comes to your food forest. Using them as such means that while in summer you can have an asparagus fern hedge, the places where the asparagus plants grow will be open (during dormancy or spring when the asparagus harvest is) in the other seasons.
2. Plant Your Asparagus Plants Underneath Your Fruit Trees For More Tender Asparagus Spears
Another option for planting your asparagus plants is to plant them in the shade of your fruit trees. This natural shade encourages your asparagus plants to produce less chlorophyll and more tender spears that are said to have a more delicate flavor than asparagus spears grown in full sun.
Once you’ve planted some of your asparagus plants beneath fruit trees or in other shady spots, your food forest will produce for you a healthy, gourmet vegetable for several years to come.
3. Plant Your Asparagus Plants Between Your Fruit Trees to Act As a Tall Growing Herbaceous Layer in The Summer
There is also the ability to use the shade that your asparagus plants will produce during the summer to help shade new fruit trees that may be a little sensitive to full sunlight. One of the ways to do that is to grow asparagus between the fruit trees. So during the early stages of your food forest, when your fruit trees are still small, your asparagus plants will give them some protection from the hot, summer sun.
Asparagus plants also produce a harvest a lot more quickly than the majority of fruit trees so you’ll have something to eat in the meantime as you wait for your fruit trees to mature.
Asparagus Spring Emergence in A Permaculture Food Forest
How Should I Fertilize or Provide Nutrients to My Asparagus Plants in My Permaculture Food Forest?
As asparagus plants are perennials, I find that having consistent access to plenty of nitrogen and other plant nutrients will keep them growing long and strong throughout spring and summer.
A deep mulching of asparagus plants will provide those nutrients while also keeping the soil covered from the baking summer sun. This will keep more moisture in the soil for the asparagus plants to use for growing and also reduce the amount of hand-watering a gardener would need to do to keep the plants healthy.
Over the course of several months, depending on how much nitrogen is available in your permaculture garden, the mulch will begin breaking down, which will give more nutrition to your asparagus, and soften the soil, allowing the roots of the asparagus to spread and grow deep.
Deep Mulching Asparagus for Fast Spring Growth
Asparagus plants are surprisingly resilient and despite being mulched heavily, will still push up through chipped trees and leaves to give you an abundant harvest year after year.
After adding Indian Runner Ducks to my own permaculture food forest, my asparagus plants truly took off. One is even growing in the wetland area of the duck pond and is producing spears an inch thick that are still absolutely delicious.
Asparagus Spears Appearing From No Dig Tree Chips and Leaf Piles
Who Knew Asparagus Could Grow To Be This Big?
Despite the vigorous and destruction appetites of my edible landscape waterfowl, I have managed to hang onto my asparagus patches. Look at the spears on that!