Today's Gardener (todaysgardener.com) participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.
The fresh taste of homegrown asparagus is amazing. There is nothing like it. The bright color, the crispiness, and the great flavor, all make homegrown asparagus many times better than what you get in the supermarket. In fact, no matter how fresh asparagus might look in the supermarket, you can never get the same taste as the one you have freshly picked from your garden. The best thing about growing asparagus is that it is quite simple and easy. Even beginners can plant and enjoy fresh spears of the plant for many years.
I love asparagus and it was one of the first plants that I grew in my backyard. With the right tips and techniques, I was able to grow the plant easily and am still enjoying it after 3 years. In this article, you will learn everything about growing asparagus.
Everything You Need to Know About Asparagus
Asparagus is one of the few perennial vegetables that can be easily grown in a garden. It is also the first vegetable that is ready to be harvested during spring. Once it has established, it will continue to give you a crop for more than 20 years. This makes it a great investment that will continue to give you returns for many years.
The asparagus plant will remain in the same place for many years. Therefore, it is important to find a spot that offers the spears all the growing conditions it requires to develop a good crop each year. The plant takes around three years to fully mature and fill in. However, it is worth the wait. Once the root system has developed, you will be able to harvest asparagus spears for many years.
Learn How to Plant and Grow Asparagus
The first step to growing spears is finding a plating site. You need to pick the right location and then prepare the soil correctly so that the plant grows well. Choose a location that receives at least 8 hours of full sun each day. While the spears can tolerate and grow in partial shade, a sunny location is best.
Preparing the Planting Site
You need a well-drained, loose, and fertile soil to plant asparagus. Since this plant has a crop cycle fo more than 20 years, you need to fill asparagus bed with nutrients right from the start. When you are planting, work in a generous amount of compost. It will help improve the structure and fertility of the soil you are going to use for planting. For best results, use a 5 gallons bucket of compost for every 5 sq ft. of planting space.
Selecting Your Plants
Asparagus plants have two types: male and female. Male varieties are usually the preferred choice when the plant is being grown in gardens. Male plants have a higher rate of spear production and also grow bigger than female plants. There are many varieties of male asparagus plants that you can choose from. The most common ones include Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight, and Purple Asparagus. These varieties are not only heavy producers but also come with an outstanding flavor. This is why most people prefer these to other varieties.
Crowns or Seeds?
Asparagus can be grown from crowns or seeds. If you are looking for an easier and better choice, then go for asparagus crowns. Asparagus crowns are actually roots of 1-2 years old asparagus plants (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsYfMLgU6Bw). These are the best option if you want to grow an edible crop quicker. With crowns, you can get an earlier harvest, and maintaining an asparagus bed is also easy.
Seeds, on the other hand, are difficult to plant and are often affected by weeds. They also give a much smaller crop as compared to the crowns.
The best way to plant asparagus is by using the trench method. Start by digging a 6″ deep and 8″ wide trench in the soil. Place the crowns at the bottom of the trench. Put in some water and cover the trench with a 2″ layer of topsoil. Make sure that there is a gap of 18″ between crowns and 12″ between each row (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTfjxm8-WKI).
Keep adding more soil as the crown keeps growing through the soil. Fill in the trench slowly with soil. It will take a couple of weeks to fill the trench completely with soil. This process will allow the roots to develop a deep root system which is essential for getting excellent crop harvests over the years.
Maintaining Asparagus Crop
The biggest key to keeping your asparagus crop growing successfully is to keep the beds free from weeds. Grass and weed compete with each other for valuable nutrients. Thus, an asparagus bed full of weed will lead to less productive harvests. To prevent the growth of weeds, keep the beds covered with a thick layer of mulch. This will suppress the production of weeds (https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/growing-asparagus/7343.html).
Other than preventing the growth of weeds, there is little maintenance that the plants need. Once the plants and the root system has established, the beds will continue to give you a tasty crop over the years.
How easy is it to grow asparagus?
Planting asparagus is easy. Refer to the information given above to find out how you can get the best crops easily.
How long does it take to grow and harvest asparagus?
It takes around three years for the asparagus roots system to develop. After that, the plant will continue to give you a crop each year in the spring season for around 20 years.
Can I plant asparagus from the grocery store?
Yes, you can plant it from the grocery store. You must keep it in a glass of water for a few days to let the roots grow. Keep the glass in a warm and bright area away from direct sunlight. You can transplant the plant once the roots are a couple of inches long.
How do you maintain asparagus?
You need to keep the beds free from weeds. This is the only maintenance that the plant needs.
This was a detailed review of how to grow asparagus plants yourself. Once you have planted them correctly, you can see your asparagus growing and giving you a crop for at least a couple of decades. Here are some important things to take care of when planting your asparagus:
Make sure that you are planting your asparagus crown 6-8 inches deep into the soil
Give the soil an ample amount of fertilizers in the form of compost for the plants to grow well
Keep the bed watered, weeded and mulched
With these simple maintenance and care tips, your spears will start growing and developing naturally. Make sure that you are planting your crowns in the manner that has been described above. The soil should be fertilized, well-watered, and free from weeds. With healthy soil, your plant will grow well too.
Have any more questions related to planting and harvesting asparagus plants and harvesting its spears? Get in touch with us in the comments.