• By Faye Kuosman, Extension Agent

Horticulture: Fruit pruning workshop

Join us on Wednesday, March 28, at 1 p.m. for a hands-on fruit pruning workshop. The class will be led by U.K. fruit specialist, John Strang.

We will cover proper pruning techniques for raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries and may cover some tree fruit if there is time. Call the Extension office for location and to sign up at 873-4601.

Planting Asparagus

Did you know that asparagus, in addition to being full of vitamins and minerals, has no fat, no cholesterol and is low in sodium? Also, asparagus is one of the few perennial vegetables.

To plant asparagus, prepare your bed carefully. It could be there for 20 years or more. Choose a sunny site. Remove all weeds before planting, especially those that are perennial.

March is a good time to plant asparagus. When planting, choose one-year-old crowns. A few varieties recommended for Kentucky are Jersey Knight, Jersey King, and Jersey Prince. Choose male plants, since females will put their energy into making berries. Dig a 12-inch wide trench that is five to six inches deep. Put small mounds of soil in the trench about one to one and half feet apart. Place the crown on the mound, allowing the roots to drape over. Fill in the trench to its original level. Do not compact the soil.

Do not harvest asparagus the year it is planted. The spears need to be allowed to grow and produce a ferny plant. These ferns produce food for the root system and next year’s spears. The second year, limit harvesting to three to four weeks, then allow the fern to grow. From the third year on, harvest for eight to ten weeks.

When harvesting, break the spears off at ground level. Cutting with a knife could damage the crown. Stop harvesting when the diameter of the around three fourths of the spears is small, or about the size of a pencil.

In early spring, fertilize the asparagus. In fall, after freezing weather, remove the ferny growth. This will reduce disease problems.

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