Yes, my friends: That is exactly what you think it is… FORKS FORKS and more FORKS! Last year, I complained that when I had plants come up or planted new plants in the lettuce or cabbage families, the rabbits would eat the leaves to the ground. Someone told me to crush up some mothballs and put them in the garden, and Joila! The rabbits didn’t like it… until it rained a few times. This year, a friend of the family told me that she wanted me to try planting cheap, plastic forks around the plants… a sort of experiment.
I have no idea what the forks do. What I do know is that it works! I have not seen one eaten leaf, but every night I see the rabbits hopping around in the garden. Do you think they get their little eyes poked or something? If so, it could be a classic case of Pavlov experimentation all over again. If they get poked enough, they won’t try any more! (Not sure who Pavlov is? Just Google ‘Pavlov’s dogs’).
What ever the case may be, I am one happy camper. Now, I need some non-toxic, non-chemical, non-taste-changing ways to take care of other pests (spiders, slugs, certain insects, weeds, kids eating all of the fruit…..). So, Take THAT You wascally wabbit… Stop eating my garden produce!
It’s officially early Spring planting time when I can harvest my first asparagus, and that was this week! I have a confession to make, though: I do not eat asparagus. I grow it for a few people I know who like it… and because of its potential value. It’s kind of an unbelievable plant, and if you enjoy it, I hope you attempt to grow some.
Asparagus is a perennial plant which will come back, each spring, for up to 60 years. It’s amazing! Some websites say they last 20 years, while others say more, but I know two people who are still cutting the plants their parents planted more than 50 years ago. I have not seen anything that says that the plants deteriorate with age, so I say plant them and see how long they will provide Spring goodness for your family.
Asparagus plants love to feel the sun on their faces but don’t like to get their feet wet, so plant them in a well-drained, sunny location. The perfect soil PH for asparagus is 6-6.5. When preparing your bed, till in lots of compost. Each year, you will want to add some more to ensure the plants get the nutrients they need.
Early spring is when you plant them. Start with asparagus crowns, which kind of look like a stick with lots of legs or roots coming off of them. It is best to plant them 1-1.5 feet apart and a full 5 inches deep. I suggest digging a trench that is a few inches wide, so you can lay the crown in the trench and spread the roots out before covering it with your prepared soil.
It is best to let the asparagus grow without cutting for at least 1-2 seasons. I know that you are excited about eating that first fresh bite, but if you allow the plants to mature a year or so, you will be reward with fabulous growth in the future. Look at the thickness of the spears which emerge from the ground to determine if it is the right time to cut them off. If they are really skinny, let them grow. The plants will grow tall and sort of look like they have fluffy fern-like leaves. Just cut them to the ground in the fall and cover the entire bed with a little compost or non-treated mulch.
Let me know how your asparagus plants grow!