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How To Grow Asparagus: Tips For Planting And Growing Asparagus

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Have you ever wanted to learn how to grow asparagus?

Growing your own asparagus is so worthwhile. Plant asparagus 6 to 8 inches (15.24 to 20.32 cm) deep and keep it well watered and fertilized. You can start harvesting when the plants are 2 to 3 years old. This perennial vegetable will produce food for years for you in your garden.

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and when we moved to our new homestead here it was one of the first things we planted.

Asparagus is a great vegetable to have in your garden because it produces so early in the season and you can harvest consistently from it for 6 to 8 weeks every spring.

Once you stop harvesting it and let it finish growing it produces huge spikes of lacy foliage that looks like large ferns in your garden.

How To Grow Asparagus text overlaid on a close up photo of asparagus growing in the garden.

This makes a beautiful display in your garden for most of the summer.

How To Grow Asparagus

Asparagus growing in the early summer garden.
Asparagus growing in the early summer garden.

Planting

Before you start planting asparagus it’s really important to pick the right spot to grow it.

Remember asparagus is a perennial and will be growing and producing food in that area for years. Because of this many gardeners are tempted to plant asparagus in an out of the way corner of their yard.

That’s not a bad idea, but you still need to make sure that it’s the best growing conditions.

Asparagus will grow best in an area that gets full sun and is free of perennial weeds.

Prep The Area

To get the planting area ready in a new garden you have 2 choices to make. Do you want to go the no-dig way or the traditional way?

For no-dig gardening, you’ll want to lay down newspaper or cardboard over the sod. Then add 8 to 10 inches of compost over top of it.

For a traditional garden, you’ll want to dig or till the area first, then rake to remove the sod. After that top the garden with a few inches of compost or aged manure.

Crowns

The most common way of planting asparagus is to use crowns.

Wait until your soil temperature has reached 50 F (10 C). Then dig your holes or a trench for planting.

If you have clay soil make the holes 6 inches (15.24 cm) deep, for sandy soils 8 inches (20.32 cm) deep works well.

Soak the crowns in water for 15 to 20 minutes before planting to help them “wake up”.

Mound a small hill of soil up in the center of the trench and lay the roots over top of it. It will look somewhat like an octopus.

Then backfill the soil in around the plants so that they are a few inches deep.

Keep the crowns well watered and as the plants start to grow cover them with more soil until you have finished filling in the trench.

Seed

Asparagus can also be started by seed but it can be a bit fussy.

Start the seeds indoors 12 weeks before your last spring frost date. Soak the seeds in water for 2 days before you are going to plant.

Then sow them into your cell packs. Wait to plant outside until after your last frost date and you have hardened off the seedlings.

Dig a trench or hole 6 to 8 inches (15.24 to 20.32 cm) deep and plant the seedlings. As with the crowns, backfill the trench as the plants grow.

Growing

Fertilizing

Being a perennial asparagus needs to be properly cared for so that it can have the energy it needs to overwinter and produce the following spring.

Once you have finished harvesting the spring crop, cover the bed with 2 inches (5.08 cm) of rich compost. Remember to repeat this fertilizing again in the fall for the best results.

Mulching & Weeding

Weeds are a problem you don’t want in your asparagus patch.

I’ve found that mulching really helps to keep the weeds out. The simplest way is to cover the asparagus bed with straw, shredded leaves, or wood chips after harvesting.

This helps to retain soil moisture so you don’t have to water as often but also suppress most weeds.

Harvesting

Freshly harvested asparagus spears.
Freshly harvested asparagus spears.

You can start harvesting asparagus 2 years after planting it from crowns, or 3 years after starting it by seed.

You can expect to harvest half a pound per plant over the season.

To harvest, you can simply bend and snap the spears off, or use a knife and cut them just below the soil level.

Harvest asparagus spears when they are 3/8 to 1 inch (0.95 to 2.54cm) thick. Once they start getting smaller to the width of a pencil it’s time to stop harvesting.

How To Plant & Grow Asparagus

Close up photo of asparagus spears growing.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • Asparagus crowns or seedlings
  • Compost
  • Mulch

Tools

  • Shovel
  • Rake

Instructions

  1. Remove any weeds from your planting bead and top it with a few inches of compost before planting.
  2. Soak the asparagus crowns in water for 15 to 20 minutes before planting to help hydrate the roots.
  3. Dig a trench 6 to 8 inches  (15.24 to 20.32 cm) deep then mound up a small hill of soil in the center of the trench.
  4. Place the asparagus crowns over the hill with the roots laying over the mounds.
  5. Backfill the trench with soil so the crowns are buried a few inches deep. As the plants start to grow keep adding more soil until the trench has been filled in.
  6. Mulch well to help the soil retain moisture and to reduce weeds.
  7. Provide 1 inch (2.54 cm) of water each week if you haven’t had enough rainfall.
  8. Wait to harvest until 2 years after planting crowns or 3 years if you started the plants by seed.
  9. Harvest asparagus by cutting it off just below soil level or sniping the spears off once they are about 1 inch (0.95 to 2.54cm) thick.

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