Various questions

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by dheat, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. dheat

    dheat Well-Known Member

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    Howdy,

    I've posted in the Homesteading forum before, but I believe this is my first post here. So, in the way of an introduction, I live right on a zone 8 and 9 line. Last year was my first year gardening. It was rather disappointing regarding results (a lot of okra, some peppers, fewer squash, even fewer tomatoes), but not discouraging. In fact, I'm currently more than doubling my garden's size.

    Part of my gardening philosophy is to grow things my family enjoys eating, but that are expensive to purchase, e.g., yellow peppers. With that in mind, I would like to plant asparagus. Supposedly, it can be grown in my zone, but don't know how well it will do or how much work it will be. Does any one have any experience with asparagus in zones 8b or 9a?

    I would like to plant a cover crop. Am I too late? If not, how late is too late for my zone for spring planting?

    Also, I'm thinking about using annual rye grass for the cover crop. Is this the same as qwik grass for lawns? If not, I have some qwik grass. Will it work as a cover crop and subsequently as a green manure?

    Thank you for you help.

    Doug
     
  2. dlangland

    dlangland dlangland

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    NW Iowa
    Doug, I have only ever lived in zones 3-4, but I know someone else will have the answers you are looking for in regard to your specific area. I just wanted to say that I admire that you are putting so much thought into your gardening. For the most part, gardening in any area is a trial and error-type thing, factoring in the weather, and we learn from experience. If you have a county extension office in your area, or even a local university, they can generally provide a wealth of information for you exclusive to your area. Good luck to you. Deb
     

  3. sweetbabyjane

    sweetbabyjane Well-Known Member Supporter

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    South Georgia
    Hi Doug,
    I'm in zone 8 and planted asparagus this year. It takes deep, rich soil and lots of space. I bought mine in early Spring (March-April if I remember correctly) and it has done wonderfully for me. It needs lots of sun, and plan to leave it in a permanent area. You won't want to plant it somewhere that is going to be plowed up--it needs a bed of it's own away from other plants.

    The first year you don't harvest any stalks, but let the roots develop. They will grow very deep and wide. The second year you can harvest a few stalks. The third year and on you can harvest all you want. This Spring will be my first small harvest! Compost it well in the Fall and mulch if it gets really cold.

    Improved Mary Washington is what is sold around here. It's a male & female variety. The female plants have pretty red berries in the Fall.

    Don't know about the qwik grass. You can plant rye but that's mainly for livestock where we are. Most people plant legumes as a cover crop as they put nitrogen back into the soil.

    Good luck! Lots of gardening is trial and error until you find what does well for you.

    SBJ
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Read the label on the grass and see what the variety is. Annual rye is what you want for a cover.

    I'm going to try asparagus here (zone 8b). You need either a cold winter or a dry season for asparagus. We do have a dry season, so maybe it will work. I already have a ton of seed, so...

    I'll be starting my tomatoes and peppers inside in a few days. You will want to get them going fairly early to get a crop before things are too hot. I'll be planting carrots and lettuce pretty soon outside. My main problem right now is lack of water. It hasn't rained as much as usual here and nothing has come up. I planted sno peas already too.
     
  5. dheat

    dheat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks sweetbabyjane and Cyngbaeld. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

    After posting my question I did some research. (Probably should have done that first, huh?) I found some info from the University of Florida. The material reported that growers in north FL (where I live) should expect limited success. The difficultly is there isn't enough cold weather. This causes asparagus to grow continually and, therefore, produce small, spindly spears. It also stated that 4-5 years of production is all a grower should expect before replanting is necessary. This info has pretty much discouraged me from trying--it seems like a lot of work for a little result.

    Regarding qwik grass, I looked at the bag again and it's Kwik grass. It doesn't say it on the bag, but I googled and it's a mix of perennial and annual ryegrass. Also it's Penkoted, which is described as "containing a fungicide, a growth stimulant and a natural insect repellent. Birds tend not to eat PENKOTED® seed if they have an alternate source of food."

    I've read in organic gardening books that annual ryegrass is a good cover crop. Should I be concerned about the perennial ryegrass component or Penkoting?

    Thanks again for the input.