Asparagus and Strawberry: Perennial Match Made in Heaven
So we decided to start some perennial food beds at our new homestead as we plan to be here for quite some time! Two spring foods that our family loves but are hard to find local organic and when we do they are super expensive is Asparagus and Strawberries! We love them! So I was pretty confident it would be a worthwhile investment!
When we did our big orchard order we got some bare-root dormant plants of both. We got 10 ‘Mary Washington’, 10 ‘Jersey Giant’, and 20 ‘UC 157’ asparagus. We didn’t know which variety we would like best or what would grow easily for us. This mix will help us decide which ones to buy next time we expand our asparagus beds!
For strawberries we wanted all season harvest so we got a variety that fruit at different times to extend the length of our harvest. ‘Ozark Beauty’ was highly recommended by the grower so we got 50 of those, 25 ‘Chandler’, and 25 ‘Cardinal’.
We came home and put the roots in the crisper draw of our spare fridge in the utility room (You know the one that I store all my extra seeds and vegetable ferments in, you have one too, RIGHT?!) and we began designing our beds. Quickly, I realized we didn’t have enough room for all these plants and I decided to research an idea. My thought was that because asparagus grow straight up and not out and strawberries grow out and not up that ‘habit wise’ they would be perfect planted together. When I began my research I soon found I wasn’t the only one with this idea! They are great to use in the same bed for other reasons as well. They like the same soil and fertility, and require the same sun and moisture. Also, I’m always thinking how I can be more permaculture minded and grow things in a more natural state.
So I filled my bed with rich compost and marked out my trenches for planting asparagus deep. After soaking the roots for a little while I then planted four rows of 10 in a 20×4 bed. I left the asparagus crown at soil level and spread the roots out deep and covered leaving just a peek above the soil. I then circled each one with compost. Then a few days later when I could manage to do more I planted in between like a checker board with strawberries. We even added our horseradish and rhubarb roots to the end of the bed!
The idea is working perfectly. They seem happy together and it looks really cool too! Next year will be when I can really see results in the form of fruit but as of now we are very pleased with this couple! Strawberries are sending out runners everywhere and Asparagus is happily blooming!