How to Grow Asparagus In Your Garden
Asparagus is one of the most well-known vegetables. It is straightforward to learn how to grow asparagus. It thrives on well-drained soil, as long as it is well-fed and free of weeds. If you love asparagus and want to learn how to grow asparagus and learn how to harvest asparagus, don’t waste time getting started.
How Long Does it take to Grow Asparagus?
Newly planted asparagus plants can take 2-3 years to start and produce, so patience is required! However, after being planted, asparagus is a long-lived plant. Additionally, the asparagus plant has new crops every few days for a few weeks in the spring.
Asparagus produces a half-pound of spears per foot of row in the spring and early summer, so it’s definitely worth the wait.
Information on Gow to Grow Asparagus
- Plant asparagus in early spring, once the soil is workable.
- Many gardeners plant at the same time as planting potatoes in the ground.
- A few varieties, such as ‘Purple Passion’ pollinated and ‘Sweet Purple,’ can be grown from seed.
- Sow the seeds in the spring and set out the seedlings when they are 12 to 14 weeks old.
- Soak the seeds in water for up to 24 hours before sowing.
- Sow the seeds in good soil suitable for cultivation to get a good harvest.
- Once the plants reach 12 inches in height, freeze them outdoors for a week.
- After a spring frost, move the young plants to a temporary garden bed.
- Once they mature in fall, select asparagus plants that do not have berries and plant them in the permanent planting site, removing less productive female plants.
How to Grow Asparagus
In order to learn how to grow asparagus the right way, you need to follow these steps:
Step One: Buy Crowns
- It is possible to grow asparagus from seed, but most growers and gardeners leave this part to a specialized nursery because the seeds are difficult to germinate.
- Instead, it is recommended to purchase asparagus “crowns” which is a technical term for the dormant roots.
- It looks like a strange sea creature with roots and claws and a head in the middle where spears sprout.
- Dormant crowns are available at local garden centers for a short time in early spring, after the snow melts but before the crowns begin to grow.
- Some growers keep asparagus crowns in their refrigerator to prolong dormancy, so Southern growers who are late in the garden season have something to plant.
Step two: Prepare the Soil
- Asparagus likes rich, well-drained, non-acidic soil.
- For best results, copious amounts of soil amendment should be incorporated into the planting layer to provide long-term fertility.
- Remove any existing impurities from the planting area, including the roots of old plants.
- Dig the soil to a depth of 6 or 8 inches with a tiller or a digging fork.
- Spread 2 to 3 inches of compost over the planting area and mix it into the soil.
- If the soil is acidic, add enough lime to raise the pH to 7 and mix in the planting area.
- Your local Cooperative Extension Services office can test your soil’s pH and tell you exactly how much lime to add to bring it to 7.
- Dig a trench 12 inches deep by 12 inches where the crowns will be planted.
- Rows of asparagus should be at least 2 feet apart, allowing for two 4-foot-wide rows.
- For every 8 feet of row space, you will need a wheelbarrow that fills two-thirds of the way with equal parts excavated soil and compost.
- Add three cups of all-purpose, organic plant fertilizer to the soil mixture. To give asparagus an extra boost, add 1 or 2 cups of green sand (an all-natural fertilizer high in potassium) to the wheelbarrow’s excavated soil and mix it well.
Step Three: Growing Asparagus
- Spread the contents of the wheelbarrow evenly along the trench.
- Form conical ridges about 6 inches high every 18 inches along the base of the trench with the soil mixture.
- Place one crown on top of each mound with the roots scattered in each direction.
- Cover the crowns with two inches of soil (fill in the spaces between each pile as well).
- Use the water for a long time at this time.
Step Four: Continue Filling and Watering
- After learning how to grow asparagus the right way and as the asparagus grows, continue filling the trenches with the remaining excavated soil.
- Keep asparagus bedding moist, but not soggy, throughout the first growing season.
- Spread a layer of mulch over the soil to help conserve moisture and reduce weed germination.
- It is important to wait at least a year after planting asparagus before the first harvest so that the plants can put as much energy as possible into developing the root system.
- In the second year, it is okay to harvest any larger portion of a pencil for a week or so.
- In the third year increase the harvest period to two weeks and in the fourth and subsequent years you can harvest all the spears that appear over a period of six weeks.
- Unharvested spears will spread into a canopy of foliage about 3 or 4 feet high by early summer. Allowing the stems to grow each year is necessary to keep the roots strong, making it possible year after year for asparagus to produce a larger and larger crop.
The propagation bed is kept free from weeds. A very light seeding of radish in the row will aid in cultivation by marking the rows until the asparagus plants are large enough to see. In the late fall, a covering of straw is put on the bed for winter protection.
The following spring the roots are dug. The biggest of them are replanted as soon as possible without unnecessary exposure to the sun or wind. The crowns of the roots selected for planting should have large, well-distributed buds.
The vigor of the asparagus plant during its first year in the permanent bed determines its success or failure in later years. We are preparing the Permanent Bed. The soil for the permanent bed needs special attention since the bed is expected to produce over a 15-to 20-year period. The fertility of the soil can be increased by turning it under an alfalfa sod.
Soybeans followed by a winter crop of rye could also be included in the soil improvement program. Such a program increases the organic matter supply, reduces weed troubles, and makes extra early seedbed preparation possible.
Ten loads per acre of manure can be turned under with the alfalfa and ten more with the soybeans. Ten additional loads of well-rotted manure 1.1.1 could profitably be disked in with the rye. The soil used for asparagus should have a reaction of between pH 6.50 and 7.50. Setting out the Plants.
Early in the spring, a double moldboard plow is used to open the furrows for asparagus planting. A good wide furrow is needed so as to permit the natural spreading of the plant roots. On sandy soil, the crowns of the plants should be about 8 inches from the surface level. On silt loams and clay loams, this depth should be about 6 inches.
Twenty inches between plants in the row and 5 feet between rows is the best spacing for new plantings. The crowns of the plants are at first covered 2 inches deep. As the season advances the trench is gradually filled.
Weed control throughout the growing season plus a sound fertilizer program will be absolutely necessary. A good cutting of spears plus the removal of the tops after they are killed by frost will take 160 pounds of nitrogen, 80 pounds of phosphorus, and 200 pounds of potash from each acre. An application o:f 16 tons of manure per acre, or its equivalent in commercial fertilizer, will offset this drain on the fertility of the soil.
Salt is of questionable value to asparagus as a fertilizer. Two-year-old asparagus beds can be harvested for two or three weeks. After the second year, the harvest period ends in July.
1. Extending the cutting season a week or two beyond this date reduces the amount of food stored in the roots for the next year’s crop. The spears can be broken off at the surface of the soil or they can be cut with a knife just below the surface of the ground.
Careful harvesting is needed to prevent injury to spears not yet above the ground. The less soil there is over the crowns during the cutting period the easier it will be for the spears to grow to marketable size.
Asparagus is very perishable and the spears should be marketed quickly. Holding them in a cool place with the trimmed ends of the bunches standing in cool water is helpful. Crooked spears frequently result when the tender shoots encounter stones, undecayed stalks, or even very cold surface soil in their upward growth. It is advisable to remove and burn the tops during the winter after they have been killed by frost
How to Harvest Asparagus
After learning how to grow asparagus in the right way, now comes the role of learning how to harvest asparagus. To harvest the right way, you must follow the following:
- Asparagus does not keep for long after being picked, so be sure to eat it within two or three days of harvesting.
- Clean any visible dirt or wash the spears in cold water before storing them.
- It is very important to dry the washed spears well; Moisture can lead to mold.
- For storage, assemble the spears together, wrap the stem tips of the spears in a wet paper towel, and place the package in a plastic bag.
- Store it in your refrigerator drawer.
- If you have enough space in your refrigerator, you can also store asparagus by placing the spears in a glass of water.
- Keep about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of clean water in the cup.