Forcing In The Greenhouse
With florists the forcing of asparagus has this important advantage:
that the income obtained from it is nearly all gain, as the space under
the benches, which may thus be utilized, is of but little use for other
purposes. If the floor under
the benches is soil this is dug out so as
to form a pit about a foot deep, or at least a few inches deeper than
the clumps are high. Three or four inches of good rich soil is scattered
over the bottom, and upon this the clumps are placed close together.
Dry, mellow soil is then scattered between and over the clumps, so that
the crowns are covered one or two inches, and given a thorough watering.
If blanched shoots are desired, the crowns will have to be covered with
six or eight inches of soil. The same object may be obtained by shutting
off the light, which can easily be accomplished under greenhouse
benches. Where it is not practicable to make excavations under the
benches, a pit may be constructed by placing boards against the posts
and filling in the space thus furnished. To secure a succession, new
roots from the reserve stock have to be planted every three or four
For the first week or ten days after placing the roots in the
forcing-pit they should be kept rather cool, so as to give them a chance
to become established. A temperature of 45 deg. to 50 deg. is best, at
first. Afterward it should be raised to 55 deg. to 60 deg., and during
the day it may rise as high as 80 deg. to 85 deg. But, as a rule, very
high temperatures induce a spindling growth. During the entire forcing
process asparagus requires a large amount of water, but unless it has the
chill taken off, and ample means for drainage are provided, it may do far
more harm than good. The interval between the time of planting and the
first cutting varies greatly, according to the temperature and other
The following are actual dates of asparagus forcing under benches at
Cornell University: Plants taken from an old patch November 29th and set
under benches three days later. December 4th, shoots just pushing
through. December 8th, first shoots cut, averaging nine inches long.
December 14th, first good cutting, shoots running from six to fifteen
inches long. December 18th, second good cutting. December 26th, a good
cutting, some of the shoots having remained too long and become woody;
some of these shoots were two feet long. January 10th, a heavy cutting.
January 19th, cut about half as many shoots as on the 10th. January
30th, cut about as much as on the 19th, but shoots growing smaller.
February 10th, small cutting of weak shoots. Beyond this time there were
no shoots worth cutting.
Next: Forcing In Hotbeds And Frames
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