Prepping the Ground pt 3
I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing the Mathers. Cam and Michelle are truly inspirational when it comes to all things gardening. They have a combined gardening knowledge that astounds. It is because of them that our garden this year was exceptional and far less trial and error.
Last May, I was able to attend a seminar that Cam was hosting at Burt's Greenhouses in Odessa. It was a fantastic overview on how to start, maintain and relish your garden. Cam is a garden fanatic of sorts and his enthusiasm is contagious. He also happened to have his new book available after the seminar. Lucky me I was able to snag one...but if you have someone who's a gardener on your Christmas list...feel free to pick one or two of them up here:
It is without a doubt the only gardening book I've ever read cover to cover....its that readable!
Now, about that manure. It is in the aforementioned book that I discovered the true value of manure. We are finally at a point in our lives (my husband and I) that we were able to grow asparagus. It takes about 3 years before you can harvest the asparagus after its planted. A very kindly neighbour of ours (Thanks again Mrs Goodberry!) showed up one afternoon with a basket full of new asparagus seedlings. I had no idea how to grow asparagus. My family had been through 4 years of moving once a year. The garden selections were strickly annuals.
It was in Cam Mather's book that I discovered that you have to "do your part" as he says. Yes, asparagus is the gift that keeps on giving, but you should assist it when you can. Manure is the best way to boost your asparagus...as it has been traditionally grown in it for centuries.
The absolute best time of year to buy manure (unless you are in a rural area and can get some from nearby farms) is late summer or fall. Garden centers will be wanting to get rid of this garden gold. We picked up the stack shown above for only $1.99 a bag. How's that for 'small purse'? We choose a mix of sheep and cow. There's no real reason, mind you, just personal preference. If we had chickens at the house, my husband would skip buying manure and just shovel out the coop.
Reading Cam Mather's book, I learned that you add manure in the spring to give the plant roots plenty of minerals and nitrogen to grow. The result? A very tall hedge of asparagus. The lesson learned? I wouldn't have planted the asparagus on the side that blocks all of the morning sun...but I was thrilled that the manure had such an effect!