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Asparagus

Barry Mosier

Conference

Recorded

  • January 16, 2021
    2:45 PM
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Let's let's start with a word of prayer together a kind of gracious Heavenly Father. It is just a thrill to get together and meet more people at this conference it's great to be here and it's good to be able to talk about some of the amazing foods that you have created in these diversity of plants is just so incredible bless each one here is we. Think about home gardening or commercial farming or whatever use we have for a Spiritus but most of all we surely want to enjoy it maybe help others enjoy it and learn more about your handiwork bless us now through your spirit we ask in Jesus name Amen. So if you're sitting over here I don't want to block you can you see past me. I got to be close enough to this thing to advance the slides like yes. And I don't I suppose the 1st important thing to mention is that I could throw a Spiritus in Minnesota now that might be pretty different than growing a Spiritus in other areas so I actually brought along something I just printed off the web you know and it was for the University of Minnesota they have the university extension they have a asparagus production guide and I think that probably in your state or the state near you there is probably one also on growing experience because asparagus is really a differs crop that can be grown in a wide variety of situations and that may be something that's available to you in your area so you might want to try looking for that because. I'll be trying to telling how we do it in Minnesota but again could be a little different where you live. Why grow asparagus well less Spiritus is. The one of the 1st vegetables of the spring and that's what i like we have we like to focus on the 1st fruit of the spring strawberries and then before that is the 1st vegetable The spring is asparagus so you know Minnesotans get kind of crazy and spring because it's they're excited to get outside and so. They really are excited to buy fresh things in the spring you know what are ground is like in Minnesota right now it's like concrete down 2 feet and I do have some handouts here too. And so the ground is just frozen absolutely solid. And you might wonder how can those plants stay alive and I'll go through what we do to keep them alive in the talk here. But. Asparagus can be is most successful growing where temperatures order out one or the other temperatures or drought stops plants from growing one time every year and gives them a rest if you don't have that a spare just won't be as successful but it likes that dormancy time every year to rest. And but it can grow in a variety of temperatures you know where we get our in Minnesota you can grow asparagus you know it can get down to 40 degrees below 0 and usually I expect in Minnesota will be at least 3 times down 20 below in a winter and it can grow in in California $115.00 degrees so it's really can handle a lot of variety of growing situations. It prefers fertile well drained soil in a more east temperate area I'll repeat that it prefers fertile well drained soil in a more temperate area now where I was living I've got clay Lol the soil it's very heavy on my farm if you dig down 12 inches you'll be an almost solid clay. And so. We planted our Spiritus about probably $8.00 to $10.00 inches deep so just about down to that clay and it seems to be growing well because those roots will go down 5 feet 6 feet down and it's just amazing how big of a structure that spirit's plant can hang out. And. Let's see. One thing about asparagus I was just talking to Chris speck here and asparagus doesn't like wet feet in other words you don't want to plant Spiritus in a low spot where it's going to be wet all the time it will drown out you want it or where I am I have about a 2 percent slope on my field of asparagus I think that's a great plenty I wouldn't want it to be 4 or 5 percent you know but a little bit a slope is good because you're getting that water drained off of there but I wouldn't planted in a low spot. Last year was a year 6 since we originally planted this last spring so we've picked Well we've picked 5 years and just to give you an idea. We sold $9000.00 palms of asparagus off those 2 acres. And that was down 20 percent compared to the year before when we had a lot of rain but with the drought we were down about 20 percent. And we sold those $9000.00 pound sport about 28000 dollars this year that's what we did on our farm. And for me I sell 15 percent to people that come to our farm and buy it it's not the same a strawberries you know people are anxious to come out and pick strawberries we don't let people pick it a spirits we pick it ourselves but they don't come in droves like they do with strawberries but we sell about 15 percent of that to people just on the farm and then 85 percent to stores and it's interesting I. Should get to this more when I get to the marketing part of it at the end but this is just to give you an overall what you might expect. I've gone to some grocery stores a number of them where they just really aren't very interested but we have one chain in our area called the store and they the produce manager has full 40 to buy local produce and put it on their shelves and those have been very good for us I sell almost exclusively to that store and plus another health store in the area health food store and so I average this year just over $3.00 a pound. That's a very good price for a Spiritus Normally I'm averaging probably to 60 to 80 but I think it was because the cove it year all the stores had a real strong demand. For fresh produce and they wanted it and people wanted it and so they charged a little bit more and I was able to get a little bit higher price. So I figure that on my 2 acres I should show by the time I hire people to help me pick and deliver in whatever else I need to do that I should have over that 5 to 6 week picking period that's what it is you can pick for about $5.00 to $6.00 weeks I expect you know a $10000.00 profit and I. It could be more if I did even more of the work but 2 acres is a lot of work well. And. So I was just talking to someone here that wanted to produce some a spear for their c.s.a. or you might want it only for your own garden factor how many here are just want it thinking about asparagus for their home Gart a lot of the year Ok so you kind of scale that down to think about how much you want I was figuring that I probably get about a half a pound for every crown that I planted so you know all of that will help you decide because originally we planted I think it was about 25000 plants and some of those died out right away but. Now I'm getting I think I get potential to harvest about $12000.00 pounds off that So the again about half a pound per plant. My disclaimer is that I made a lot of mistakes and. I probably won't mention quite so many of those try to just focus on the things that went right but one thing I did do and if you did want to do commercial How many risks in commercial asparagus production Ok there's several If you find somebody it's in your area that's doing it already go to them see what they're doing and find out what successful because for sure. Asparagus is probably good for 15 to 20 years so if you plan to wrong. You gotta live with it for a long time and so you want to do it right for your area the 1st time. And asparagus is one of these I can hardly pronounce let's see it's diy shifts plants that have both male and female plants and I don't like to be discriminatory but I only plant male plants and that's what most spirits people are doing why why do you discriminate against the ladies well. The male plants produce more spears per crowd. And there are also it more a little more uniform. And. The other thing is that the female plants are going to produce seed every year and for us I don't want to fight weeds enough I don't need those seeds to be seeding my whole field on I have them in a role where I want them and I don't want to help my plants producing that many more plants so I've got out there what I want and I don't need to be planting all this in spirit because when it's way in between the rows it's weeds to me so so that's again most commercial growers and I think gardeners are going to be planting. The male plants some of the old varieties are Mary and Martha Washington are more susceptible to disease almost certainly they're still viable you can get them and they produce great asparagus another set of them that is popular are the Jersey Giants and they were produced in New Jersey originally and so there's several of these varieties that are called Jersey arise these and they produce a little thicker stem than the group of the variety that I plant. I plant all millennium. Millennium Briony they produce that's the best producer per crowd. And that's what a lot of a commercial growers grow but it won't give you those thick stillness if you like those nice fat stems then you might want to go with the jersey ones because. These millenniums are going to have more uniform and thinner stems 3 Chuck plant you can idea what they look like right here. You can see that they're just really quite consistent whereas you get some of the other bright you get a real fat one and then a skinny one in the store that just doesn't look as good they just don't look as good and these are also very resistant to disease again the Washington brides are not so it is a resistance to resistant to diseases. When I 1st started. I. I suppose I should have jumped in a little at a time but we planted $14000.00 crowns the 1st year and $11000.00 seeds now it's 2014 I thought we died doing that it was a really a lot of work because there in Minnesota again we're planting down 8 to 10 inches deep and. 12 inches apart and then 4 feet between rows so every 4 feet another roll and 12 inches between the crowns down 8 to 10 inches why so deep Well again I live in Minnesota if you don't plan a deep they're going to freeze out and I've seen asparagus trees out not in my fields but when I was growing up we had a. 8 to 10 inches but again check for your area. So you can see the trenches that year it was quite a job I had some young people helping me and I was sure glad they were there I don't know if they always were but it was you can you probably can't really see very well no you wouldn't but in the open trench there are about 2 thirds of the way over on the screen there are little crowns and you always want to put the crowns up you know they're going to be growing crowns up in the roots down when you buy a crown and so. I used a tractor with a fur attachment on the back of it and then I would just drive down the the role and of digging up that fur as I went and then we came along with shovels as you see the kids in the picture here and they would take the extra dirt out of there so we could get the asparagus crowns in it a nice even level across the field. I had a I think a stick in the row or something so that they could put them. Up 12 inches apart and it really went quite well for us. Oh and then as we were planting I put them down in the bottom of that trench and then we would cover them with about 2 inches of snow topsoil reak it in from the sides so they are about 2 inches now what's going to happen is they're going to grow up through those 2 inches and as they continue to grow and start to put out their ferns you're going to continue to cover them up until the grout the whole field is level so you just let him grow up through there then start to wreak the dirt on it till basically the whole field is level. And. You know just more pictures of getting the spiritus into the ground. The interesting thing is as I said you know when I planted it I could remember why why if saying well the crowns are $0.40 each I don't know exactly what they are now I could have looked it up but that's what they were 2014 and I bought my crowns from Norse farms in Massachusetts was we're in or you are the Norse and. Anyway she said the crowns are $0.40 we can get seeds for $0.10 Why not just buy the seeds Well that made a lot of sense and so that's why we ended up planting $11000.00 seeds also and what that catch is really a year later you have to dig all those up and replant them down deep because when we 1st planted those seeds we planted on rows of 12 inches apart. And down 2 inches. And then spaced 4 inches apart Ok let me repeat that again I think the biggest 2 foot between rows it was 2 foot anyway and then 4 inches between seeds and the seeds down about 2 inches I bought those seeds from a place called stilts seeds and not so many places had Millennium Seed. But then that next year after just one year I was really shocked when I started to dig up those crowns and you'll see what those crowns looked like after just one year in the ground I mean they were full of roots and they looked beautiful to be honest they looked better than the crowns I bought and so some were bigger than others of course but you'll see those Spears already coming up as we were digging them up that spring and transplanting them into the beds that were 12 inches apart 8 to 10 inches we had to redo all those and get them down where they needed to be so in the end we had 25000 and but it was nice big roots to transplant in I was very very pleased and I guess overall I had another asparagus farmer Luke Fisher's the more professional farmer than me he has lots of acres of asparagus and he plants 5 feet apart so there's a trade off there and I'll be coming to that a little bit he basically gets down to how much shape and how many weeds are you having to deal with. So you can weigh it yourself as to whether you want to invest a little more up front or if you want to try the seeds. And after all that work. This is what you end up with the asparagus when it's coming up I should have mentioned one of the thing in the planting. It's good to think about. What the reason I was glad I went with 4 feet I planted a few rows 40 inches in there just to close. Because those plants are growing out those roots are growing together every year in those plants are just a little too close to the center of the roll they're going to grow almost together over the life of the plant and they're growing far down and so forth eat works pretty good for us but it also provides you'll see a few pictures ahead here that as the ferns curl up to about 4 or 5 feet tall that will almost shade out most of the weeds almost all of them and so that really gives you a lot of protection for those of you have who are growing asparagus how many of you have trouble controlling weeds you mean it's really a problem isn't it is just really difficult to keep in a spiritist bed weeded So I like it that that shades out though the weeds and. Another consideration is that if you plant them the 1st year or 2 we crew I had a big problem with rust that's a disease I'll be talking about a little later on but if you plant so that the roads are going the same direction as your prevailing wind approximately then that wind will go down those roads and that will help keep disease out of your asparagus so that's just another consideration some to think about I planted mine just the opposite of the wrong way and it's turning out Ok but I think it probably helps mine to have a little bit more disease prop because the wind doesn't go down my rolls in fact at 4 feet apart so thick that I am not able to really walk down and roll in the middle of the summer it's just about impossible it's too thick. Ok And as we were putting those crowns in the ground remember I said we put 2 inches of dirt on there we Rick that back onto those crowds we did something else that I didn't read this. Much in books but it just made sense to us and we had a local farmer that has scholars and he had some piles of manure in the back 40 and it had been out there for a couple years and we said could you bring your manure spreader and spread all the way through our field we we did it spreader to load after spreader load after spreader loaded so on top of that 2 inches of dirt I had 2 inches of manure. And again I hadn't heard of that I knew you could put some manure fertilizer in there but we raked that right into the furrows but it was a lot of work the interesting thing is that a couple years later when our when our spirit started to grow up we had a small vegetable can solve that comes around and checks all the local farmers that grow strawberries mostly is what his specialty was but he came to our farm and looked at our asparagus and he said I have never ever seen a stand of a spirits that looked this good this early on this is the best asparagus I ever see and soul we were very honored to have see such kind words about us but it really I think the credit maybe went to the Lord and then that fertilizer we put down and so also asparagus when I planted so deep it's got to work pretty hard to push through 8 or 10 inches the dirt in my dirt is heaven and so having that manure there is kind of a softer. Layer of stuff to get through but it has been a blessing in fact now I get calls from people he's referred us to and how did you do that again planting your asparagus so it's one thing that worked out well praise the Lord. Now when can you start picking for some of the older pariah these you couldn't really pick and told the 3rd year for us we picked a little bit the very next year after planting the Crohn's after 2 years after the Sikh ones and then by the 2nd year we were picking it I think we picked 4 weeks I think we picked 2 weeks the 1st year on millennium the 2nd year we picked 4 weeks and the next year after that we were up to a full $5.00 to $6.00 week picking period so that was with the millennium. Ok. If you do plant the seeds you might want to get some kind of a machine or something to dig them up we used a shovel and that was as I said kind of backbreaking System 11000 open to dig up. Let's go on. Oh I was going to say that for our perspective the ones we planted for seed and the ones we planted from the Crowns have a pretty similar production. When I talk to Luke he was saying he thought the ones he planted seed actually produce better I don't know. It you gain a whole year with the crowds you put them in the company cover of up that's it and then you're just one year faster towards getting your asparagus to pick so you know that for a few cents each you know maybe that's the way to go. But eventually you get the asparagus coming up and this is about how it would look for you in the field or in your garden and. It's amazing the strength that it has to push through the ground. Weeds are a big challenge for us. I can remember the very 1st year that we planted. And my wife and I were out there on our hands and knees going up I have $77.00 rows of asparagus about 300 feet each rolled. And we were trying to crawl through there and weed and you know it didn't I'm not overly bright but it did take a spirit long to figure out this just wasn't going to work. Ad I could see I could still but remember distinctly one day my son taking off with the family to go do something and Mary Beth and I stayed behind and were weeding in the spirit of spiel then and we felt kind of persecuted about it and anyway we just decided this there's got to be another way and I'm just going to be honest with you for most commercial growers they're just going to. Before the field starts producing in the spring they're going to round up the field and after they're done picking for the season they might round up the whole field again after they cut everything down to the ground. And. Just wipe all that we'd say and then in the fall they probably put a pre-marriage into her beside Now that's the conventional way of doing it but we've been blessed with the way we've been doing it we haven't done that and I won't said Never spots create for quite a grass with missiles here or there but we've never put herbicide across our whole field. But weeds are a challenge and. We were frustrated and finally we really developed our own program. And so the steps we take early in the spring I leave the chair have all the stalks I leave them in the field over the winter and there's a pretty good reason to do that otherwise I could be blowing them off in the fall because they those stocks could have some disease on them and I don't want that to carry over to another year so I could mow the lawn when the fall but by being in the field it's going to every time that a snowstorm hits there's going to be snow drifts going through all the stalks and they hold the snow that snow is a natural insulator and it's going to protect my field so I really want those asparagus spears out there to protect my crop from freezing out and it works very well. Then in the spring before production a soon as that dries out enough to do this in this picture here you see. We we go through it. I call it the flame thrower but it's just a you know a flame Wheater and we just go through and burn the whole field off so I want to burn up those stocks that could have disease carried over from another year some to burn those stocks off and for us that would be the time if we do some fertilizing. I do a soil test each year and then we put in what we need to to. To feed our Spiritus Who's when they produce that much half pound per crown every year you know eventually you're going to have to get some food and so here's a team out there my son Keith and his family and my wife. Putting some fertilizer on the field that we've burned off and then this is my son Andrew all here so we're going to go through with it Tiller a 5 foot tiller and we're going to till down one inch through the entire field everything now this is before any spears are coming up because you don't want to do that a friend of mine grew asparagus he said they used to describe the field in the spring but what they found was that disc was a little too heavy and they were cutting the tops of the crowns with the disc. Blades and sole wheat distilled down on an inch and that's going to take out all the weeds that are getting started then. We're going to go ahead with our picking season as the picking season wears on we're going to get a lot of weeds coming week. We just continue to pick through the season by the end of the 6 week season the field is now nearly 3 years almost solid green with weeds and so then I will cut everything down to the ground and I'll do the same thing again I'm just going to tilt through the whole field an inch and a half down tilling all those weeds up and. Finally about a week later. Maybe maybe a week and a half when those are those asparagus spears have grown up to about 18 inches what you'll see here is I'm going through and cultivating with my tractor and cultivator right around each row not my rows are getting a little wider every year so this is going to be a continued challenge and ought to spread those called the usual further apart but you can see I'm getting pretty close to there to those plants on each side and that's taking out most of the weeds at that time you want it to be dry when you do that so those weeds and you knock over they're going to die. And then in another week and a half all these asparagus spears ago stand up and open up and when they fern out now they're producing shape and that's my wheat program after that so I'll show you what shading open weeds looks like. They're they're getting you still see my cultivator tracks in the field but you can see they're filling in more and more and so by telling them and then call evading I'm getting that jump on the weeds and there I am. A little later in the season. Maybe midsummer in the stand of asparagus you see you know I'm not a real tall guy will over 5 and a half feet but you can see the asparagus it's filled in and you can see where it's not so easy just to walk through the rows it's really big out there. Now by late summer here the confessions come you know all by late summer Yeah I've got a specially box to deal you know I always thought oxtail could only go about a foot high but not sell it grows to however high it needs to be to get up to the light and so the fox tail is up there you'll see it and yet I don't think it's that bad the field isn't that bad not that we did and so we're still pretty pleased with what we're doing for wheat control for our Spiritus. One thing I would recommend for you I don't know how you're going to do it with you're going to till I till every 3 weeks or 4 weeks through the summer around the field I guard the borders I've learned my lesson the hard way when you see Kwak starting to creep in from the ditch or another place for this old Once that stuff gets in the middle of your asparagus field it I don't it's very difficult to get out very difficult because you're in there even if your hole in your hero point right around a spirit isn't so nice it's right in the role when you just can not get around those spiritual spears are pretty tough and so very very difficult to get them out so I do very much defend might borders. Ok I think we'll move on to pests. This is really the main past I have it's called the asparagus beetle and I got one on my. Side of my hand right here a little spotted a spirit of speed how many of you have seen these probably for those of you are growing spirits I know you have. I was amazed I thought where did they come from you know I didn't have a spirit was there before I planted 2 acres in the 1st year all of a sudden there was all kinds of them how did they know where I lived who gave up my address or why you know but there they were and. I think that in our area there was a spirit it's grown about 2030 years ago by commercial growers canning companies and whether there could be anything still from them I don't know but it just seems like they were sure there waiting for me and. I. You know I of course commercial growers many of them would just spray the field kill everything but we have gone to. Another method very scientific method called the scoop on that. And we noticed that on a cold morning every single one of those adult beetles that is now next spring hatched out grown up in their eating they're going to be layin. Eggs That's right and they lay kind of weird little exert little needle like things coming out from the usually towards the top of the asparagus spear but on a real cold morning they all crawl up in to the very tip of the asparagus spears there they all are. And they're very slow moving on a cold morning. And not and slower than me and so we just go through it and school every want to and so by doing that I wipe out the whole 1st generation of the summer and that really helps keep them at bay and so they lose that 1st generation and so far that's how we're keeping a head of all I think he could go through with somebody and just put him in a can or something of itself in the pay don't like do him in but that's what we're doing my school method. And the black eggs you know if they're hardly any on the spear we might just rub him off but when if there have laid a lot of them there really is not marketable. And you could eat them but probably just isn't that appetizing. The other problem that I do get is Cut-Worms I have not come up with any solution to them yet they feed on one side of that a spirit a spear down by the Crown as it's coming up and you can tell because when that crown or that spear comes out of the ground I don't have a picture of it it would curl right over it'll just kind of curl into a curling ball there and it's because the one side is injured and it favors the side that's injured so when it comes up just curls it toward the injured side. And I don't have a solution so far I guess I've just been sharing with them and but. I know that the commercial people are just sprayed and I don't want to do that so I just because they're under the ground I haven't figured out a way to get rid of them. Let's see I guess we talked about. Oh I didn't talk very much about it rust I should have had a picture of us but I don't. I suppose it's just natural I did the same thing with this my strawberry talk I think I just need to get pictures of headaches and problems so I did when we talked about the challenges I really realized I just don't take pictures of those things and rust early on we got it and by mid August my whole field turned around. And it was basically almost the spears themselves and the ferns were almost dead by that time early in the season and we didn't know what to do at that time. In our farming we just sprayed and sprayed for fungus side I think we did 2 years and you know since then the Lord is just blessed to decided we're just don't want to do that anymore I don't want to spray the plants and so since then we haven't had rust It's just amazing even up until early and mid October our field is just as green as can be and I just say it must be the Lord because I don't know how else that's possible we had 2 years of the problem and we haven't had it since so praise the Lord and I really you know we always do everything we can do right and then we also pray I don't think you can say Lord I'm just going to prate and not do what I should be doing my part right we got to do the part we can do and so we do everything we know what to do and then we pray and the Lord seems to take care of these other things as he knows our limitations. There is another disease called few serious wilt that will eventually go down and affect all of your roots and that's pretty deadly to your crop if you the only way you know it is if you dig up some of the crowns and see what's happening down there. But if you get that it's it's pretty serious thing. And usually concert too much more Easter. Too much more Easter. A. Picture of my wife picking in the rain sometimes we pick on basically every day except Sabbath and some days it's not so fun to pick this particular day most of my help so that we don't feel like picking to did. Mary Beth and I were out there and I think after we got soaked to the skin the 3rd time we said that that's enough let him grow up pick them tomorrow. And you might wonder why would you pick every day well those fears are growing every day and we're trying to pick them at 10 inches so every day they get taller and when they get a little over 10 inches maybe 12 inches they're going to start to open up their heads are going to start to open up now for you home gardeners not really a problem they still taste great but to market them in the store as the heads are starting to open up they're just not marketable The stores don't want it. And so you can't let them get very high and when it's hot a hot day that is a challenge because you really fun we just we just drip a hot right. Why because that spirit is going to grow maybe 8 inches that day maybe more and so we pick in the morning on Friday but we know that the refs that crop and never make it through Sabbath without opening up all the heads. And so we'll pick Friday afternoon and you know we want to get everything done before sundown but basically you don't have time to process it we just pick it put it in pails and throw it in the cooler. And then we'll have to process it Sunday morning but then again if it's hot on Sabbath you might have to pick Saturday night because they'll never make it till Sunday morning before the heads open up so that's our challenge like a set we just dread a hot Friday or hot sale. So rain is always a challenge you don't want to be too wet this is probably my a more level part of the field so it doesn't drain quite as well. And I did mention the snow insulation over winter you could see how that snow cover really is benefited by all the stocks that were left in the field but I did want to also mention hail. We probably get hailed out or frozen out if it gets frost down to $28.00 degrees it'll affect the asparagus. So probably once a season I either get haled out or I get frozen old and because I'm producing for stores I call them immediately and say you need to stock from somebody else for a couple days here because I'm not going to be able to produce or get you a spirits for maybe 5 days because it's going to have to come back from the ground up whatever is under the ground is going to be Ok but whatever is above the ground is not worth much that's. That's usually when we fill our freezer with up after a hail because you know freeze you can see coming you know you check the weather all the time you're all farmers I know you're doing like me checking the weather several times every day. You could tell when there's a freeze coming but it's pretty hard to tell when there's a hail coming and so. What happens is it hits one side whatever it is that the windy side and all this you might not even because I've been had times where I wasn't whole and I come home and I looked in every single spear in the field is leaning towards the west like a shepherd's rot and you go out and check and sure enough got hail from that direction and it favors the wounded side that side doesn't grow as well so it leans and bends over that way all the spears are baaing to the way to the west and. Then those spears are really not very saleable. What's that. You could. Like I said that's where we stock our freezer because they taste just as well and ice flows there isn't very much damage or chance of infection very quick so if we pick them right away they're just fine. And drought if you're in a very dry area you may need to be thinking about irrigation of some kind of it's your garden you might have to water it in a dry year I don't have any irrigation for my a spirits I do for underground for my strawberries but the reason we haven't is because when you're a gate a kind of crop that's already down 8 inches to get the water down to those crowds it's going to take a tremendous amount of water to soak that ground up and so we just let the Lord take care of that so I haven't irrigated but you could consider that but our area gets pretty consistent rainfall. And again that's what our spear just looks like when you know creative asparagus after we've picked it and again do your soil tests I know this last year we put on I think about 15 pounds of boron and about 170 pounds of potash acres and the way we apply it is just with peanut butter jars I have a 5 court bucket of stuff and we just scoop it out with peanut butter jars I figure out how much to shake onto each roll and we just go up and down the rows and you shake it on there and that's we put on the field but again do your soil tests and what you're comfortable with for fertilizer. And that's see. Yeah this is the fun time of the year where you look out there and see it and weed when you do harvest it how many of you have ever done squats for exercise. There there are very good for you and but by the time you could on a $300.00 foot roll of a Spiritus maybe you've done. Enough to fill a 5 gallon pail solid with spears you've done a lot of squats so it's really great exercise but it's tiring. So. This is a picture I'm going to try to show this video of how we pick and I want you to notice just a few things in our video it's all blurry but it will get better we go out with the golf cart and pick up our the asparagus right away this particular day was a wet day so I couldn't use my picker so we're just picking into 5 gallon pails and this is a day also it's a little muddy I'm using knives that day sometimes if we're in a hurry we just snap them off the ground level. Either way works some people have told me they're afraid of using knives because if you can spread infection from one plant to another. I haven't found that to be a problem for us but you'll see us picking and putting them into the buckets and then the cart coming to. Here you know. Just cutting them off at ground level or even slightly below ground level in the carts coming out to get buckets so we can get them into water you want to cool them as quick as you can although this day was cold we don't need to cool them too much but that's kind of what what it's like when we're picking out there in the field. Since then. We've got an asparagus picker and this is an interesting one my neighbor built this for me. And we had the idea from something Luke Fisher was using but. It's. 0 turned lawn more and he just converted it into an asparagus picker so instead of the hand controls you'll see I've got by my feet in the middle there are foot controls I push one way or I push the other and that steers the front wheels and so really a pretty simple design and we can stack the crates there each of us has a crate next to us on the arms and so 3 of us can pick a time I usually like to pick with 5 of us and 2 of her walking along by the side because the older I get the less I like being a pretzel and so by the time I cramped up like that binning over trying to reach between my legs here to cut a Spiritus I feel like a pretzel and so it feels good to get up walk and then after you've walked a couple rolls it feels kind of nice to set still a variety this works out real well so about 5 pictures works just real great. But that machine has been a wonderful help to us. Ok then comes the processing. To catch up to my notes here. Again we cut it about 10 inches that's what the stores like although you can take them to stores I've taken him as short a 7 inches but they prefer a little longer. And what you'll see here is. Our doing a time with cedar 2 for. They were at a time we had almost no hurry up here we've got a p.v.c. pipe I think was a 6 inch of. P.v.c. pipe and I might put it end on that we cut it off and so I just step up Bowl half. Semi round bowl and we've cut it so it's 10 inches long and I can lay asparagus shoots in their spears and cut them off so they're all 10 inches. Because efficiency is the word You've got to go fast when you have you know the most we've probably picked the 1000 pounds and day but you get you really got to be to to get this stuff through you can't waste lot of time and beside her there's a create one for waste one for product. We try to cut the ends nice and clean and straight across that's the way that people like to have them. And that's kind of what that finished product looks like. One thing we bought. After about the 3rd year was a bundle or what's a bundle or this is not a very good picture of it my son Keith is in the picture there on the right and that's our bundle or it's just. 4 little pegs at the top that hold a rubber band you step on a pedal at the bottom and it spreads the rubber band apart and then you just hold the asparagus bundle in there one pound bundle I do way the bundles and use lead up on the pedal and it bundles it for you we put 2 rubber bands for each bundle. And one thing I should have mentioned is you should expect about 60 percent of your harvest in the 1st half of the season is the field gets more tired 40 percent in the 2nd half of the season it's just so you have something to gauge that by and we put it in 15 pound boxes if you cool it. Are cooler it's not I want to get a better cooler. But mine isn't accurate enough but they what I read is that you should be able to see store asparagus for 3 weeks at 36 degrees that's not putting it in standing water because when you put it in standing water you've got to watch out for microbial infection after a while it's going to be a problem the water will get stagnant. And let's see. Should be able to store it at 36 degrees for 3 weeks but we in our cooler we never go over a week and I try to have it cleared out of there every 3 days I want fresh stuff in the stores because I feel like our reputations on the line each day and sold their I am bundling putting the boxes in bundles that's kind of the fun job at the end but I did want to talk a little bit about. Whatever we're doing I think the important thing is you always want to share Jesus with people why are we doing this if we don't have the chance to share Christ with others when we have such good news it's better news than just asparagus to eat so this is our our poster it says meet your farmers people get excited about meeting their farmers so. Many people see that poster every day with Marybeth and we have that in each one of our stores where we sell and you probably can't read it but in the Up there it says our priorities is off a family and farm. Those are our focus and then down below it sends them to our website where we tell about the airplane crash and we want to direct them towards our website where we can out we have spiritual information on there and. So far I haven't had the stores turn me down with my with my posters so they have it right there in the store. So this is. What's on display in the store it's best to store them on ice if the if they can. So there we have our poster. And. Again I sell 15 percent of the farm 15 percent to a food co-op with the rest of the grocery stores. And I think that's it except for the most important news. My new granddaughter. January 1 I had a great my son Keith had a little girl that's grandchild number 18 but praise the Lord so I will open it up to some questions. Ok the question is are we certified organic no we're not I think it costs a lot I've heard it's a hassle and what we do on our poster there is we just say naturally grown that's what we do there yes. A hot temperature that's a good question. When it gets in the upper eighty's we're thinking of it is it's getting it's going to grow fast even lower eighty's it's going to grow faster seventy's it's pretty consistent and for us in May That's a pretty expected temperatures sixty's seventy's but when we know it gets in the mid eighty's it starts getting above that when it's in ninety's or just goes nuts if you scroll so fast so another question yes. What what kind of. Purpose Oh I do have one crown of purple spirits in my field I don't know how it got there and it came in the shipment. But soul and I They tell me the production is less and it looks neat but you know it does taste Ok but like the other. You know it's the best you have for production old need Ok I. I haven't tried it except for that 11. So that's the best producer you could talk to I forgot your 1st name. Dan Dan what So talk to Dan about the purple asparagus other questions I think we're all bought all the time I'm sorry. Oh yes. Yes. Ok the question is if it lasts so long what if you get tired of it and want to plant something else there I guess and people have told me they plant companion crops with it but I never heard of that. And I guess I'm going to cross that bridge when I come to it I don't know when those roots are that big I'm not sure how you can do it in yeah maybe you have to spray it. I don't know anybody else know. So anyway because it's going to keep coming and you maybe have to do it in somehow. Ok use went down each row with a single spirt chisel. Oh Ok. So we had one person in our audience here who used the palm and kind of a. Chisel qual and kind of dug it up pretty well and pretty much got it up Ok so that could be an answer to your question another question the group out of time I did bring if anybody wants to see these I had to hand out so I also brought I was going to give these out the other day it's just an idea if you want to see this is brochures we make up for our chat if you want to hand these out to anybody Rees their hand maybe or something but. It's a brochure that we put together to advertise our spirits or our strawberries I should say and it just gives you an idea of what you might have it's just an idea because we like to tell Bob mission projects we have I get about 3 or $400.00 a year in donations towards our mission projects just for people who say we see what you're doing we like it and for us we give 20 percent of our profits to to the mission project and they they appreciate that we put that on our poster in the store so they feel like when they're buying our Spiritus they can know that some of the money is going to do mission work in Africa but it's just a little example you can look at see if you like it and duplicate any part of it that you like to use. Ok a one question in the back or used Ok you're ready for those Ok well with that you've been a good audience but did you have a question. Ok so we had someone who planted sweet potatoes between their spirits rose and that worked out pretty well because when they dug them up they weeded the the field salt good idea I know I've heard of it I hadn't heard of it before but for a good idea all right I think with that you've been a good audience Friday afternoon and so let's go ahead for a word of prayer. Kind of like father as we grow things help us always to work to glorify your name. Help us trust in you day by day as we face challenges we still are a me at the for Riot foods that you crow from the ground the same ground praise your name bless each one of these folks as they go back to their gardens to their fields and we work together to grow food until the time when Jesus comes back draw schools to Jesus be ready for the Sabbath we're asking Jesus name on. 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