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Kimball, Minnesota
May 21, 2009     Tri-County News
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May 21, 2009

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-- --- * - Thursday, May 21, 2009 Potato Head for din- ner tonight, I love it. It is the first crop in my garden that is ready to eat. If we get a little more rain and a little more warmth the aspar- agus patch will be cranking out plenty of goodness for me to enjoy. When did I plant the asparagus? Three years ago. And it is definitely worth the wait. If you want to grow asparagus you need to be willing to make a long-term commitment. It is a perennial plant, a plant that grows back year after year. Once you get it growing, it will keep growing for many years. One of my neigh- bors has an asparagus patch that was planted by her mother-in-law decades ago and it is still produc- ing. Because it is such a long-term commitment it is smart to do a lit- tle planning and preparation to be sure to get it right. Remember, you'll be living with your aspara- gus for years to come. Planting asparagus is different from planting other vegetables. It is usually grown from "crowns" rather than from planting seeds. An asparagus crown is the root system of an asparagus plant that has been grown to be trans- planted. It looks like what it is, a bunch of roots. The roots come together to form "buds" at one end. Crowns are available at bet- ter garden centers, online and via mail order. Look for crowns that are one year old. "Jersey Giant" or "Jersey Knight" are good varieties for our climate. To plant the asparagus crowns you need to begin with a furrow that is six to eight inches deep. Plant the crowns with buds up, spaced 12 inches apart within rows. After placement in the fur- rows, cover the crowns with two to three inches of soil. As the aspar- agus begins to grow, gradually fill in the furrow as the shoots emerge. The shoots will develop into long fern-like stems. By the end of the a long-term or suggestions for Mr. Potato Head HealthClinicisforwomenandmen a little work, you will have a suc- cessful long-term relationship Skills group for binge eaters (with asparagus). The 14-week skills group at embarrassed by how much one is If you have gardening questions the St. Cloud Hospital Behavioral eating. Groups are led by a licensed psy- please e-mail him at , et~isodes of eating large'quantifies be entirely filled in, although the Mr. Potato Head is Stearns offoodinshortperiodsoftimeand developing asparagus fern should County Master Gardener and Kim- "experience two of the following: never be buried, ball resident Rick Ellis. ~ Feeling out of control about 2 p.nb Eriday eating behavior; Feeling.ashamed or disgusted by the behavior; Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry; Eating alone because of being chologist and a registered dieti- tian and will help participants learn what prompts overeating and pro- vide coping skills to prevent it. Groups are now forming and will be from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesdays at CentraCare Health Plaza. This is not a weight-loss program. Group sessions will be submitted to your insurance. For more information or to register, please call Barbara As your new asparagus patch is growing, be sure to keep it well- watered, especially in the first few years. An annual springtime appli- cation of good fertilizer, raked lightly into the ground, all up and Cari F Hoffman Carver, PhD., at (320) 229-4918. down the row or rows, is needed ....... A second, mid-summer side dress- ing with a high-nitrogen fertilizer is also good. In the fall; just let the plants die back naturally ...... ~ . OofMExtension horticulturist fescues are a bit thin and wispy, NeXtfernyyearstemsYOU andCan waitCUt baCkfor thethe :%~ ....... ~ hady I Dealing with s awns they tend to lie down in front of old the mower making it necessary new spears to appear. This is very We love our trees and we love whichhave some degree of shade to keep your lawn mower blades important: do not try to cut any to have a lush green lawn, but the tolerance, at the rate of two parts sharp. spears the first year! This is a long- two are not always compatible. No fescue to one part bluegrass.Because shady lawns are eas- term proposition: the plants need grasswillgrowforlonginthedense Although we are tempted to ily smothered by heavy leaf fall, a chance to develop a strong root shade that results from trees, but add fertilizer to make the grass prompt leaf removal is important system. It is a good idea to limit with proper care, you can grow an grow faster, the opposite should be in the fall. Fine rescues are rather the second year harvest to the acceptable lawn in partial shade, true in shady areas. Grass grows shallow-rooted and can be torn first two weeks of spear produc- Lawns in shade areas are typi- more slowly in shade and slower out by hard raking. Gently remove tion. When you finally do get to cally thin, weak and generally do growing grasses cannot make use the leaves several times in autumn harvest, cut the wanted stalks just not have the ability to tolerate or of as much fertilizer. Furthermore, and.again in early spring to allow below the soil surface. Try not to recover from stress as compared fine fescues, even when growing as much light as possible to reach cut above ground, but definitely to lawns growing in full sun. in good sunlight, need only half the grass. do not cut deep or ;ou will dam- In spite of what we often hear, the fertilizer needed by Kentucky De-thatching shady lawns is age the crown, leaves and needles from trees bluegrass. Fertilize three times a usually.not necessary because the Cooking asparagus is easy. I use do not cause the soil to become year (around Memorial Day, Labor types of grasses that growin shade a frying pan with a lid. Put some acidic; it is the lack oflight, notsoil Day and later October), athalfthe seldom create a thick thatch layer. water into the pan, just enough so acidity that causes thin lawns in normal rate. Core:aeration may be useful each that it will partly cover the aspar- the shade. To grow a presentable Fine fescues are more drought- fall if your soil is heavy and com- agus and heat it until the water turf, the area must receive about tolerant than bluegrass, which pacted. Moss growing in the shady starts to boil. Put the asparagus 50 percent sunlight. This can be allows them to compete well with lawn indicates that the soil may into the pan and cover with the lid. filtered through trees or it could the demand for water by the trees, need aeration. The asparagus should cook until it mean several hours of full sun Col- When watering shade lawns, water No matter how well you care is just tender, probably five rain- lowed by diffuse light the remain- less often and water deeply. For for it, shaded grass will probably utes will work. Over-cooked aspar- der oftheday. Try to increase light good turf, shaded areas need a thin over the years. The best time agus is a slimy and terrible thing, by pruning out branches from the good soaking about once a week to overseed is betweenAug. 15 and Don't ruin it by cooking it too long! trees. Sometimes just removing during hot periods and a soak- Sept. 15. Although you can over- When it is tender, pull it out of the the lower branches will help. ing once every 10 to 14 days as the seed in the spring before the trees pan and drizzle a little butter on it The next step to growing good weather cools in late August and leaf out, weed competitionmay be and sprinkle it with salt and pep- grass in shady areas is to make September. more of a problem at that time. per. It is goooooooooood! If. you sure you choose shade-tolerant Since the main limiting fac- If, after several years of effort, are hungry for it now, it is available turf grasses. The most shade-toler- tor for good growth is lack of light, grass stilldoesn't growwell enough now at the local farmer's markets, ant types are fine-leaved fescues, shady lawn grasses need more leaf in the shady area, you may have to The locally-grown asparagus is such as creeping red fescue and surface for photosynthesis. There- choose an alternative. There are fresher and sweeter than the stuff chewings fescue. These fescues fore, keep the grass a bit longer; some shadetolerantgroundcovers that has been stored and shipped should be mixed with Kentucky usually a little above three inches, that work well and, if all else fails, all over the country. And remem- bluegrass varieties such as Glade, but cut the grass before it reaches you can use a decorative mulch ber, with just a little planning and Nugget, Touchdown, or Sydsport, 4 1/2 inches high. Because fine under the trees. R lie ! HEATING, PLUMBING, ELECTRICAL 24 HOUR SERVICE! I I IS our 14311 55TM St. NW Annanda|e, MN 20+Years in Well and Pump Service Call "Rollie" 320-274-3856. Ce11320-980-1212 INstatt^llON SALES/S[I~ICE NEW CONSTRUCTION HEAnNG/CoOLING PLUMBING * ~EMODELING t, WATB~ CONDITIONING UC.# 005548PM " BONDED * INSURED KINGSTON (320) 275-4011 (320) 398- (aoo) 594-68 KIMBALL CHIROPRACTIC Acupuncture Massage Work injury Spinal rehab (320) 398-7900 Don't five with pain... Call TODAY! . (888) 785-2813 Sat. Evening appts 510 Hwy 55 East Kimball Plumbing Heating Sewer Cleaning Back Hoe Digging Portable Toilets Sewer Pipe Thawing Septic Tank Pumping 2N-23U xixnllmn Flags (all & Bob 398-6782 ;,2269 *Motor Oil .Gasoline Tank Truck Transport OIL ~[ 1~ Family-owned & operated since 1929 121 Main St. S. IflmlMdl M-F: 8-5 320-398-5455