Winter through spring is the time to plant your own Asparagus! It takes significant preparation but the plants will produce for decades when properly cared for and it’s not hard. Keep in mind, you do need quite a bit of space!
What to Expect When Growing Asparagus
If you aren’t familiar with how asparagus grow, the part we eat are the new shoots in the spring. Asparagus grow from crowns, we harvest the shoots (from the second year on) in the spring then let the shoots grow during the summer into beautiful ferns. Often times the ferns will set some red berries then turn yellow in the fall before turning brown. After they are brown, twist and pop the shoots out of the ground, leaving the crowns.
Preparing and Planting
Asparagus plants will grow up to 6′ tall and wide so select an appropriate area, the plants can be spaced just 12 inches apart but the rows need to be about 6 feet wide. They need full sun, which is a minimum of 5-6 hours.They don’t have to be planted together in a row. Use them as a seasonal screen or background in a flowerbed!
Select 1 year old crowns (available at The Greenery now!) that have firm, white roots. Dig holes (if planting separately) or a trench 1 foot deep, add 4″ of Master Nursery Bumper Crop and the required amount of Gardner & Bloome Tomato, Vegetable and Herb fertilizer and mix well into the bottom of the trench. Make sure to set aside the removed soil because you will need it over the coming weeks. Asparagus plants are very heavy feeders so do not skimp on this part, you will be very disappointed with the results!
Next make small mountains with the prepared soil in the bottom of the trench or hole. Spread a single crown out over the mound then cover with soil that you removed from the hole just until the crown is covered. DO NOT COVER too deep. This will result in poor sprouting. Water thoroughly. As the plants sprout, you continue to add soil until they are just covered and the soil is level. Water when surface of soil becomes dry. You can overwater new crowns resulting in rot, especially if we get a lot of rain.
The first season after planting, do not harvest. These plants need to build up their roots so they are ready to produce the following year. The following spring, harvest for up to 8 weeks or so, when the tips grow and they are desired size. Just harvest them before the shoots produce ferns. After the 8 weeks, let the shoots become ferns. This is when they are building up their supply of food for the next spring. The 3rd spring you can harvest for almost 3 months. Stop harvesting when the shoots become spindly.
Seasonal care of asparagus is almost obsolete. Every fall, after the ferns have turn brown remove them (twisting and popping is best but sometimes you have to cut them off). Then add a 4″ layer of Bumper Crop or composted manure. An addition of vegetable fertilizer may be helpful too. Insects are generally not a problem. In fact, they provide shelter to beneficial insects including Lacewing and Ladybugs! If you do have insect problems it is usually scale or mealybug and is easily controlled but is an indication that the plants are stressed, whether it be for water or fertilizer.
Watering established asparagus is not a big issue. Obviously they should be in well-drained soil and kept moist during the first year. After that, deep waterings up to a couple times per week during the warm/hot months is all!
So you can see that growing asparagus a little work in the beginning but not much thereafter! If you want to read further on Asparagus see (UCIPM). Now that you know, are you going to plant asparagus?
P.S. You can also pick up this FREE information in store!