Questions About Planting Asparagus?

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You've come to the right place.  Planting asparagus requires a little bit more effort compared with other vegetables. The soil in the garden needs to be light and airy. A good tilling to a depth of 10-12 inches is needed.  Think about how extensive the root systems are.  You want to plant asparagus once and have it produce consistently for years to come.  The can be accomplished wit root systems that are wide and deep.  If you only work the soil a few inches deep, the roots are going to spread out and remain shallow, which will result in less healthy, less productive plants.

Asparagus is generally grown in rows. The plants are spaced 18 inches apart in rows 5 feet apart. They are generally planted in April or May, after all danger of frost has passed.

Take a minute to think about where you want to place your asparagus patch.  After all, it's going to be there for many years to come.  It's a pain to dig up asparagus crowns and replant them someplace else.  Not only is this endeavor inconvenient, you're also likely to damage part of the root system when digging them up.  Better to think and plan now, before you plant the crowns in your garden.  Trust us, you won't want to move them later.

In our own garden, we try and grow most of our spring vegetables together in the same area.  This includes our asparagus patch.  We find that we're most likely to check on our asparagus since we're out there in the same general area during this time of the year, checking on our peas, carrots, onions, etc... anyway.  And the inverse is also true in the summer, because we don't spend a whole lot of time in that "spring vegetable" part of our garden - we're too busy with our tomatoes and peppers and melons.

Asparagus Crown

Most folks plant asparagus crowns, or root systems, because they are easier to get started. Some people begin with seed. If you choose to start planting asparagus with seed, just know that it will require a lot more time and effort. If you start with crowns, you can expect your first harvest to occur a year after planting. If you start with seeds, it will take 2-3 years before your asparagus will be ready to harvest.

Asparagus seeds take approximately 3 weeks to germinate. If you start with seeds, plant them 1/4 inch deep in flats filled with potting soil. Begin this process approximately 12 weeks before you plan to transplant them into your garden. Place the flats in a warm, sunny, indoor location and make sure the soil stays moist. They can be transplanted into your garden after all danger of frost has passed in your geographic area.

Asparagus crowns can be purchased at most garden centers as well as online retailers. Crowns are basically asparagus root systems that are at least 1 year old. After being established, a mature crown will produce approximately 1/2-1 pound of asparagus every year.

Planted Asparagus Crowns

To plant the crowns or seedlings in your garden, dig a trench 8 inches deep and 8 inches wide at the bottom. Sprinkle a phosphate rich fertilizer, such as 10-20-10, in the bottom of the trench. Cover the fertilizer with an inch of soil. Place the crowns or seedlings in the trench and spread out the roots. Cover with 3 inches of soil and water thoroughly. When the shoots emerge and are 6 inches tall, add more dirt to the trench to bring the soil back to level with the rest of the garden. Do not cover up the shoots.

Do not harvest any asparagus during the year you first planted it. Let the shoots grow and get as long as possible. They will eventually produce ferns.  You want these ferns to get as large and lush as possible.  These ferns use photosynthesis to produce food for the plant that will be used the following year to produce edible spears that can be harvested.  The idea is that the larger the top of the plant, the more energy is being sent to the root system.  In the first year of planting, do what you can to get the plants as large as possible.  Use a water-soluble fertilizer product a few times throughout the summer in the same year that you're planting asparagus in your garden.  And keep the weeds down as best you can.

Now that you've finished planting asparagus, it's time to learn about fertilizing, watering and harvesting your crop.

Bunch of Asparagus

Click here for information about watering and fertilizing asparagus

Click here to learn about harvesting asparagus

Click here for asparagus recipe ideas

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