Asparagus: An Edible Privacy Border Hedge
Using an asparagus hedge is just one way to incorporate an edible plant into the ornamental landscape. It’s easy to grow and good for you!
Asparagus is So Healthy
Mother Nature sure knew what she was doing when she created asparagus.
Asparagus is low in calories & sodium. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, protein, vitamins B, A, C, E, & K, rutin, thiamin, fiber, potassium, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, copper, niacin, manganese and selenium, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that heightens the ability of insulin to transfer glucose from the bloodstream in cells. The amino acid asparagine derives its name from asparagus, as the asparagus plant is rich in this compound.
If I’m able to match up an asparagus lover and a landscape plan, it’s a win-win for both of us. However, many folks don’t even know what an asparagus plant looks like grown-up. What we eat is the young shoot before it unfurls it’s leaves.
This is an farm with rows of it at its full size, which is about 5 feet (1.5M). Once you recognize it, there’s nothing like it.
It tends to grow wild in forest preserves… You’ll be spotting wild ones in the local forest preserve in no time! They are an introduced species, which means many preserves don’t mind you picking it. (Check with yours, though!)
Location and Planting
Sunny, sunny, sunny. If there is more than 3 hours of shade, the plants can become floppy. They will grow fine, however staking may be required.
As the actual planting process is quite long and too long to include here, Please see this post on Modern Farmer. I agree with their methods 100%.
How to Create an Asparagus Hedge
Each plant will be about 3 feet wide (1M). However, when using them as a border, I do tend to over-plant them closer than recommended, about 2 feet apart. I also plant them in a zig-zag pattern to create a denser screen.
Generally speaking, the hedge will be about 5 feet wide (2M), so be sure there is enough space available for the hedge to grow in.
In autumn, the plants will turn a striking yellow. It’s up to you if you want to prune them down or wait until very early spring like I do. I prefer to see them throughout the winter against the white snow.
Harvesting your asparagus hedge will have no ill effects on how it will fill out, as long as you stop harvesting when the spears get smaller.
This is our daily harvest from approximately April 15 to late May (20 foot hedge). Asparagus starts turning up in every meal; from breakfast omelets to stuffed pork for dinner. Soup can use up a lot when we’re inundated.
I save the thinner ones to pickle. These are a great treat while kayaking or in a Bloody Mary.
Maintenance and Care
When it comes to low-maintenance, there’s nothing better than the asparagus plant! Aside from harvesting, all it needs is to be pruned down in the dormant season and a light covering of fresh composted manure in the spring.
There are two kinds of asparagus beetle, the common asparagus beetle (bottom), Crioceris asparagi & the spotted asparagus beetle, Crioceris duodecimpunctata. Both feed on the tender young tips of the spear, but the spotted beetles larva tend to only eat the berries.
The easiest way to catch these buggers is to have a cup of water ready. As you move towards them, they move to the other side of the stalk (quite funny to watch!) Put the cup under them & wave your hand near them. Their instinct is to drop to the ground, but instead, the cup of water will catch them. The larva and eggs aren’t as easy to remove. It’s the same method I use for typing… Hunt & peck.