You might remember it from earlier this spring? The cheap straw I laid down sprouted and was just causing a total mess. That was the first issue with this bed this year... digging all the unwanted sprouts out.
The main issue has been that I just can't really get the majority of the asparagus to grow and be happy. I've had a lot of root rot issues. So I did a bit more research and I felt like the biggest issue has been moisture. The soil is very loamy and rich but because this bed wasn't filled with compost when it was originally built I don't think that the drainage has been ideal. However because it was intended to be a perennial bed I never added more compost in, as perennials (chives and asparagus) were already planted. There comes a time however, when you've got to just face the music. I didn't want to move the perennials but the only way to rectify the situation was to deal head on with the soil. So even though all the asparagus has well sprouted by now and the chives are about to bloom, I dug them all out. I heeled them in one of my finished compost piles and tried to leave as much dirt around the roots as possible so the shock of being dug up all afternoon wouldn't be too much. This is the bed with all the plants removed. (And yes I know I need to desperately weed the gravel paths around the beds - it's on my TO DO list still)
My main goal was to increase the elevation of the soil to get better drainage. I shoveled in another cubic yard of compost. In the 12 sq. ft. of bed that has now been reserved for asparagus (down from 28 sq. ft.) I added in small pumice stones to open up the soil a bit and help with drainage.
After a lot of shoveling (on the bright side - green gym!) I replanted the chives in the same spot there were previously in and then brought all the asparagus together in one area just north of that.
Now that this bed isn't all asparagus any longer I was able to use the other end of the bed for new plants. Not sure how well they go together but I planted 12 sq. ft. of corn north of the asparagus. Since I've pretty much run out of time to stagger my plantings, I went with planting three different varieties that all harvest at different times 90 days, 82 days and 80 days. Hopefully that way we won't be eating nothing but corn one week come summer... not that that's necessarily a bad thing! At the very north end of the bed I added in some color with giant sunflowers and a few sprouting nasturtiums that I rescued out of the compost I need to turn. See? That compost is good for more then just soil! I have a few more spots to fill in here and I'm thinking I need some dill but I need to read up - something is tickling the back of my brain that dill likes to be planted off by itself. I'll have to research it before I commit to anything.
I also dragged my poor hubby into the garden fray (it's so not his thing, he'd MUCH rather be working on rebuilding vintage motorcycles) but I did convince him to build me a little arbor for the grape vine. He promised me last year that if I planted a grape he'd make a support for it. Well, I planted it and last year came and went and the poor little vine just flopped over with nothing to grow up or on. So yesterday I made THE most pathetic attempt at building one myself (I hammered a 5" board into the top of fence and flopped the vine over it - ha!) My ploy worked because hubby took one look at that and rolled his eyes and ripped it out. Since we're kinda broke we just made do with the lumber we had stashed in the garage... still for a "freebie" it came out pretty good!
THINGS I GOT DONE:
Transplant marigold starts
Plant sunflowers - direct sown
Corn - Sew Seeds Direct
Chamomile - Transplant
Dig up asparagus and chives (heel in while working in bed)
Fill end bed w/ a yard of compost and mix in pumice for better aeration and drainage for asparagus
Replant asparaus and chives
TO DO STILL:
Basil - Transplant
add bark mulch to blue berry bed
Summer Squash - direct sew
weed blueberry bed
Blueberries - Feed
Fertilize: 0.8 oz of N per plant using 21-0-0
turn and water compost
buy peppers and basil
weed gravel paths
feed lawn: sift older compost with food and worm castings
Melons - Sew Seeds Direct
Dill - Harden Off / Transplant