You need the patience to grow asparagus for your kitchen because it will take 3 years to get the harvest. It means you can’t harvest the asparagus for the first couple of seasons.
But the reward of patience is that you can get 15 to 20 harvest. It is a perennial plant and you will get harvest year after year for 30 years. As this is a productive plant for a long time so you should grow the best variety.
This is an attractive plant, its top is like a feather and it turns golden in the fall season. This will add an ornamental look to your garden.
WHEN TO PLANT ASPARAGUS?
The best time of planting asparagus crowns in your garden is spring when the soil starts working most of the gardener’s plant asparagus at about the same time when potatoes go in the ground.
Make sure the last spring Frost passes when you plant asparagus crowns in the ground.
CHOOSING AND PREPARING A PLANTING
Choose the best site for your asparagus plant so it will thrive properly; it is a perennial plant that will produce your hair after a year in the same spot.
- Choose the site for asparagus where your plants get at least partial sun.
- The best place for the asparagus bed is towards the edge of your garden because it will not disturb the activity of planting or replanting other plants.
- These plants need well-drained soil. The best way of growing asparagus is a raised bed so you can maintain the soil according to the need of the plant.
- The pH of the soil must be about 6.5 and your soil should be slightly acidic so asparagus plants thrive best.
- It is suggested that you should eliminate all the weeds from the area where you want to grow asparagus plants.
- The next step you should do to the digging over and spread are a layer of compost, aged manure, or soil mix.
- If you want to allow the asparagus crowns to root properly then your soil should be loosened to provide depth to the asparagus crowns. Make sure crowns should not be disrupted by rocks, stones, and other obstacles.
WAYS OF GROWING ASPARAGUS
This plant likes to grow in cold areas. The young stem shoot of the plant is edible and it emerges when the temperature of the soil is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring.
There are two ways of growing asparagus, the first is from one-year-old plants or crowns and the second is from the seeds. If you grow asparagus plants from the crowns then it can eliminate the time of tedious weedings.
If you are growing asparagus for the first time then you should grow 10 to 20 asparagus plants in a row of 15 to 30 feet.
Now we will discuss both methods one by one so you will understand both ways of planting asparagus.
GROWING ASPARAGUS FROM CROWN
As is mentioned above an asparagus plant will take 2 to 3 years to produce. But once it is established it can produce for many years. The interesting thing about asparagus is that it is a fast producer.
It produces new spares every few days in the spring. The weight of the spears is ½ pound per foot of row.
HOW TO PLANT ASPARAGUS FROM THE CROWNS?
- If you want to protect your plant crowns from weeds, you should plant them deeply.
- First, dig a trench of about 12 to 18 inches wide and the depth of the trench should be 6 to 8 inches. The gap between each trench should be 3 feet.
- Remember to soak the crowns in lukewarm water before planting in the ground or raised bed.
- You should make a 2-inch high ridge of soil along the center of the trench you dig.
- Now finally place the asparagus crown on the top of the mound. Make sure the roots of the plant should be spread evenly there should be a gap between each asparagus crown that is 12 to 18 inches.
After planting the asparagus the real work begins. After placing the asparagus crowns in the trenches the next steps are covering the crowns and maintenance of the plant.
You can fill the trenches by adopting two ways. One is a little-by-little method and the other one is the all-at-once method.
I will explain the methods one by one so you will understand the whole procedure of planting the asparagus crowns.
- For covering the crown you need compost and topsoil. But bury the crowns only 2 inches deep. Now water the plants so they can adjust to the new environment easily.
- Time passes and spears grow to be 2 to 3 inches tall. At this time you need to add 2 more inches of soil. Make sure the spears should not bury completely in the soil.
- When you see the spears again grow through the layer of the soil. Repeat the process of adding soil to the trench until it has been filled to the ground level. It depends on how deep you dug the trench. It is noted that you have to add soil one to two more times in the growing season.
- When the trench is completely filled with mound the soil slightly. It prevents water from accumulating around the emerging spears.
In this method gardeners simply fill the trenches with soil and compost all at once. Most gardeners think that if they grow plants by traditional methods then the plants will be stronger and healthy.
If the soil of your garden is loose then spears will not face any problem while pushing through to the surface. It depends upon you which method suits you or which method you find easy.
GROWING ASPARAGUS FROM SEEDS
In this way, we will grow asparagus from the seeds. Remember the quality of seeds should be very good, you can also use some seeds from the previous crop.
The best way of growing asparagus from seeds in a greenhouse. The best time is in the mid of February to May. The bright light and suitable temperature are needed for the healthy growth of germination of seeds.
So you should choose such a location for your seeds where they get full sun exposure and maintain a temperature between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The simple hack for the faster growth of seed germination is that you should soak them for a couple of hours before planting.
HOW TO GROW ASPARAGUS FROM SEEDS?
Now following are all the steps of growing asparagus from seeds. Hope you will follow the steps carefully so your seeds will germinate properly.
- First, fill 3.5-inch pots with high-quality sterile soil.
- In each pot, you need to place three seeds on the surface of the soil.
- Now spread a thin layer of sand to cover the seeds in each pot.
- Water the seeds so it will start the germination process. Remember to keep your pot moisture by providing consistent water.
- The soil will become warmer if you keep the pot on the heated table.
- The seedlings will take 3 months to ready for transplanting outside. After the last frost, you are able to transplant the seedlings so they get a better environment for good growth.
- When your seedlings are ready, you can transplant them in raised beds or in the ground. The gap between the rows should be 18 inches apart and 4 inches deep in the soil. If you want thinner spears then the distance between each row is 8 to 10 inches apart and 4 inches deep. If you want thicker spears then transplant the seedlings 12-14 inches apart and deepness should be 6-8 inches.
- A light layer of soil is needed to cover the seedlings.
- Make it possible that your seedlings will get one inch of water every week.
- You can harvest your crop after 3 years. You should allow the plant to grow all summer. When fall comes, cut them to 2 inches.
HARVESTING AND STORING ASPARAGUS
When your asparagus plant is 8 inches tall then your plant is ready to harvest. For harvesting, you need a sharp knife to cut just below the soil line.
If plat has begun to develop foliage it means you can’t harvest spears. If you want to avoid this happening then you should harvest every day.
After harvesting, cook spears of asparagus immediately or you can store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week or more.
If you want to store them for a long time then blanch spears in boiling water for 5 minutes. Let them dry and store them in freezer bags.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR A BIGGER AND BETTER ASPARAGUS HARVEST
- You should grow tomatoes near asparagus because tomatoes repel asparagus beetles and on the other hand asparagus helps to keep away nematodes that attack tomato crops.
- The most popular asparagus are Jersey Knight and Jersey Giant, they are male plants and very productive.
- Another tip for surpassing weed is to apply mulch.
- Before planting the crown first soak them in the compost tea because it will give a burst of energy to them.
- Crowns need fertilizer when they are established. In spring or fall, you can use rich organic fertilizer or compost such as fish, kitchen scraps, and seaweed. Rock phosphate also increases the yield of your asparagus plants.
WHAT INSECTS AND DISEASES CAN KILL ASPARAGUS?
The most common diseases of asparagus crowns are fusarium wilt, rust, and crown rot. If you minimize the danger of fusarium then avoid the sites where asparagus has grown in the last few years.
Crown rot will become the reason for the rotting of tissues of the stem. The reason for this disease is soil-borne fungi. So select the disease-resistant varieties to avoid such problems.
If you see small orange patches on asparagus spears, it means it is affected by rust disease. Humidity and high temperature are the main reasons for rust.
The common insects which are dangerous for your asparagus plants are asparagus beetles and spotted beetles. If you want to maintain and provide the best defense to your asparagus plant then you should choose the right variety and best planting location.
You should be a careful observer because this will help your asparagus plant to thrive for many years. Little care and maintenance are needed for this purpose.