Analysing our 2022 garden: strawberries and asparagus

Okay, it’s that time! I’ll be working on a serious of posts, going over how our 2022 garden went, what worked, what didn’t, and what didn’t even happen at all. This is help give us an idea of what we want to do in the future, what we don’t want to do in the future, and what changes need to be made.

This is our second year for the purple asparagus. We should have one more year of letting them establish themselves before can we start harvesting anything.

I’d read that strawberries are a good companion plant for asparagus, so we bought some transplants this spring. Eventually, we plan to have a lot more strawberries as part of our self-sufficiency goals, but this was just a start. I hoped that we would be able to use runners to expand our strawberries next year.

I also snagged a package of 10 bare root, white strawberries as a spur of the moment purchase. We planted those in a new bed along the chain link fence, where the potato grow bags had been the year before.

The Results:

The asparagus and red strawberries may have been in a low raised bed, but the asparagus crowns get buried quite deep, and that bed ended up affected by the “moat” that formed around the garage with this spring’s flooding. (click on the images to see them full size)

The asparagus bed had been well mulched for the winter. When we transplanted the strawberries, the straw mulch was moved to around the bed, and wood shavings were added for a lighter mulch on top of the bed. That was done in early June and when the straw was moved, we could see that some asparagus spears were starting to make their way through the straw.

Then the flooding happened. I don’t think I’ve ever seen standing water that close to the house before! It’s hard to tell in the picture of the flooded yard, but the path around the beds at the chain link fence were filled with water, too.

Where the white strawberries were planted, however, was high enough that it wasn’t affected by the flooding in any significant way.

We did get a few red strawberries, but most of the berries ended up pretty misshapen and didn’t fully ripen. They just did not do very well at all. Lack of pollinators may have played a part in that.

As for the white strawberries, I thought we might have had some start to grow, but what I thought was a strawberry turned out to be a local weed that has leaves similar to strawberries. Not a single white strawberry grew, and I don’t really know why.

Conclusion:

With the asparagus, we are looking at 20 years of production in one place, so it’s not like anything is going to change, there – as long as they survive! There were fewer spears this year, than in their first year. I suspect that they have been set back at least a year, by the flooding.

Part of the plan had been to get more asparagus crowns every year, with both green and purple varieties, but that just didn’t happen for 2022. Finding a spot that can be given over to something for at least two decades is always a challenge, however with this spring’s flooding, that just wasn’t going to happen. We will have to keep in mind what areas so the most water collecting, and make sure to avoid them.

As for the red strawberries, the bed has been mulched, so hopefully they will survive the winter, and we’ll see better production next year.

The white strawberries were a complete fail. I would still like to try them again, but will likely order a different variety from somewhere else.

Strawberries can be planted under other things as a productive ground cover, so we have more flexibility when it comes to deciding where to plant them. We could order the roots in packages of 25, to be shipped in the spring. I’m thinking of getting at least one 25 pack, and planting them around the Silver Buffaloberry. Something we still have to decide on.

The Re-Farmer

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