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When Do You Plant Asparagus?

by Jennifer Bonis


Growing asparagus is an investment in the food you will eat in the future. With asparagus, you can grow the same plants in your garden year after year, which is different from most veggies.

The new shoots that come up in the spring are what we eat as spears. In order to grow asparagus successfully, you need to be aware that the first taste of homegrown asparagus will not come for a few seasons.

You have to wait for plants to fully grow before you can gather them. They will stay in the same spot in your yard for 15 to 30 years. For that matter, an asparagus bed is a good reason to fix up your house instead of moving!

When Do You Plant Asparagus?

You can grow asparagus in most of the country, but it does best in cooler places where winters are longer and colder. Asparagus spears grow stronger in the spring in places with cooler winters than in places with warmer winters because of these periods of dormancy.

Quick Guide To Growing Asparagus

  • In an open spot with rich, well-drained soil, plant asparagus in the spring or fall.
  • It takes a few seasons for asparagus to grow up, but you can gather it for 15 to 30 years after planting it, so pick a spot that won’t be touched for a long time.
  • In the fall, improve the soil in your garden bed by adding compost or other rich organic matter. Then, cover the bed with mulch for the winter. This will make it ready for planting in the spring.

In the spring, plant asparagus 12 to 18 inches apart in rows that are 6 to 8 inches deep.
As the asparagus gets taller, fill in the gaps between the rows with soil until the plant is level with the garden bed.
Once the lines of your rows are level with the earth, add a layer of mulch to keep the soil moist and keep weeds from growing.
During the growth season, give the plant a continuous-release plant food every few days.
Don’t gather until the second or third season. When the asparagus is 8 inches tall, it’s ready to be picked.

How Asparagus Grows

One of a kind, asparagus is a crop. It is one of the few veggies that can be grown all year in Minnesota. The other two are horseradish and rhubarb.

The spears are the parts of the plant that can be eaten. The stems of the plants are what these are. The spears grow from buds that are buried at the base of the root system. We call these buds and roots “crowns.”

When spears are left to grow, they get leaves, which are what we call ferns. This is because the plants need time for the leaves to grow and store energy for the next year. This is why asparagus is only picked for two months out of the season.

The energy that the fern makes will be saved in the plant’s roots so that it can grow spears the next year. It’s important to keep the ferns in good shape even after the gathering is over so that you can always get good crops.

Soil pH And Fertility For Asparagus

Asparagus grows best in soils that drain well and have a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. It can’t handle soils that are too acidic. It can grow in sandy, heavy, or medium-weight soils as long as they drain well and don’t hold water after it rains.

For asparagus to grow well, you should test your dirt first to make sure it has the right amount of nutrients. Based on the results of the soil test, add the fertilizer that was suggested.

There are times when adding some fertilizer before planting is best, like in the fall or spring. However, when planting, you should add about half of the phosphorus and potassium. Once the tops start to grow after planting, nitrogen should be added.

One to two pounds of 10-10-10 (10% nitrogen, 10-10 phosphorus, and 10-10 potassium) yard fertilizer per 100 square feet is what you should use for asparagus if you don’t have a soil test report.

If you want to keep your asparagus patch healthy, you should test the soil every three years and do what the test says before adding nutrients.

Once the asparagus patch is set up, it can be fertilized with compost, manure, or fertilizer before the spears come up in the spring, or it can be fertilized again after the gathering in late June or early July. You should only add these things if the soil test says you need to.

Put the fertilizer next to the row of plants and lightly scratch it in. Do not let the tool go deeper than an inch into the ground so that you do not hurt the plants that are below the ground.

If a soil test shows that the garden has a lot of phosphorus, use a low-phosphorus fertilizer like 32-3-10, 27-3-3, or 25-3-12. You can also use a non-phosphorus fertilizer like 30-0-10 or 24-0-15, but only use half a pound per 100 square feet.

It is best not to add more phosphorus to the soil than what the soil tests say is needed. When high-phosphorus fertilizers like 10-10-10 or 15-30-15 are used over and over, or when a lot of manure or compost is added, phosphorus can build up in the soil and hurt plant and soil health over time.

Shed-killing fertilizers, like “Weed and Feed” products, should not be used on veggie plants because they can kill them.

How Long Does It Take To Grow Asparagus?

As was already said, it could take two to three years for recently planted asparagus plants to really get going and start producing. On the other hand, asparagus plants can produce for decades after they are established.

Also, asparagus plants make new spears pretty quickly. For a few weeks in the spring, they send up new spears every couple of days. We believe the wait was well worth it because the plant gives us ½ pound of spears per foot of row in the spring and early summer.

How To Plant Asparagus

  • Plant crowns deeply to keep them safe from the tilling that is needed to get rid of weeds every year.
  • Make a hole that is 12 to 18 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches deep. If you’re going to dig more than one ditch, leave at least 3 feet between them.
  • Before you place the crowns, soak them for a short time in lukewarm water.
  • In the middle of the trench, make a ridge of dirt that is 2 inches high. Place the asparagus crowns on top of the ridge, making sure that their roots are spread out evenly.
  • From root tip to root tip, space the asparagus stems 12 to 18 inches apart in the trench.
  • There are two ways to plant from this point on: the usual “little-by-little” method or the easier “all-at-once” method.

How To Harvest And Store Asparagus Harvesting

In Year 3, asparagus gathering starts. In Year 3, plants can be picked for up to four weeks. Cut spears that are 9 inches long at ground level. Gather all the spears because spears that are already tall stop other spears from growing. After 5 years of growth, you can harvest for up to 8 weeks after 6 weeks in Year 4. When most of the spears are smaller than a pencil, you should stop gathering. Harvest should end by early to mid-June in most places.

After Harvest Plant Care

Once the gathering is over, pull out the weeds and let the spears turn into ferns. Kill any pests that come up, fertilize the beds, and water them often. Cut down ferns in the fall and use the leaves as dirt mulch. Do not till the asparagus beds because it hurts the head. To get rid of weeds, use mulch and pesticides.

Productivity

During harvest time, a fully grown asparagus plant can give you ¾ pound of spears per plant. 25 plants should give you enough spears to eat right away and store for later. At 35°F and 95% relative humidity, pears will stay fresh for three to five days.

Asparagus Care Light

It’s best for asparagus trees to be in full sun. Don’t forget to give your plants enough sunlight every day. Weak plants and spears are more likely to get sick.

Soil

If you want to grow a permanent plant like asparagus that lives for a long time, you should take the time to improve the soil. Add a lot of organic matter to the soil and make sure the pH level is between 6.5 and 7.0. Get rid of any weeds and big rocks that are in the area as well. Soil that drains well keeps plants from ever being wet.

Water Asparagus needs to be watered often, especially when it’s young. During its first two growing seasons, give it 1 to 2 inches of water per week, and after that, give it about 1 inch per week. If you give them a good start when you plant them, you’ll have less trouble in the years to come. You could add drip watering or a soaker hose to the bed where the asparagus is growing.

Temperature And Humidity

Asparagus grows best when it’s between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 60 and 70 degrees at night. When the dirt gets to 40 degrees in the spring, it will start to grow shoots. If it freezes after the shoots start to grow, it will hurt them. If it’s above 85 degrees or below 55 degrees, growth may be slow.

Fertilizer

To get your asparagus bed ready, dig a hole and fill it with compost, an all-purpose organic fertilizer, and rock phosphate, a natural mineral powder that helps roots grow. These nutrients will help the roots of your asparagus grow well and strongly. To keep the soil healthy and help the asparagus plants grow, add compost to the top of the soil once a year.

This can be done in the early spring before the shoots come up or in the fall after the leaves have died back and been cut down to the ground. Asparagus needs a lot of food, and the fertilizer instructions on the package say to give it a dose in the middle of spring when it is busy growing.

Types Of Asparagus

Newer types are bred to have only male flowers. This means that they will only grow the plant and not make seeds. Here are some common choices:

  • “Mary Washington” is the most popular type; it was bred to resist rust.
  • “Jersey Giant” bears fruit early and doesn’t get rust or fusarium wilt.
  • “Brock Imperial” is highly valued for its high output.
  • “Purple Passion” is a sweet purple variety

Green Vs. White Asparagus

The plant that makes white asparagus is the same plant that makes green asparagus. The plant goes white by blanching, which takes away its light so it can’t make food.3 This is done by putting soil or plastic tubes over the spears as they grow. The finished product is smooth, white, and almost completely free of fiber, as long as the spears that are picked are chilled right away to stop fiber from forming.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will Asparagus Last?

For 10 to 15 years, the plant should keep making spears.

Why Are The Spears Always Skinny?

Last summer, plants may have had too little water. Since new spears grow in July and August, stress like water, heat, and other things will change their size. Ferns that are healthy help plants grow and store enough food for spears to grow well. As the harvest season goes on, spears naturally get smaller.

Can You Harvest Asparagus At Other Times Of The Year Beside Spring?

Though these plants don’t usually produce much, you can do it. However, the bed will not last as long.

Can you grow white asparagus in Utah?

Yes, but you need to pile dirt on top of the bed where the plants are and cut the spears just where they break through the soil. The spear will turn green if it gets light. Cover the beds with black plastic in the spring. The light won’t get in.

How Come It Takes Three Years To Grow Asparagus?

That’s how long it takes for a small sprout to grow into a strong plant that can be picked for at least four weeks a year. If you buy healthy, vigorous crowns that are one to two years old from a garden shop or seed catalog, you have a better chance of being able to harvest after three years.

Does Asparagus Keep Growing After You Cut It?

If you cut an asparagus stalk, it won’t grow back, but if the patch is already established, different stalks will grow and pop out of the ground at different times. After you cut the asparagus stalks, they will grow back the following year because asparagus is a permanent plant.

How Much Asparagus Do You Get From One Plant?

About half a pound of spears can be made from one crown. A row of twenty plants spread one foot apart will give you 10 pounds of fruit each season.

Can I Grow Asparagus In Pots?

In theory, asparagus could be grown in open pots, but for a number of reasons, this is not a very good idea. It takes two or three years for asparagus roots to grow into stalks that can be picked. If you can grow it to maturity in pots, the plants will die after two or three years of hard work. With that in mind, trying container culture is usually not worth the trouble.

Can I Grow Asparagus Indoors?

When asparagus is grown indoors, it’s usually by commercial growers who use expensive and hard for home growers to keep hydroponic equipment. Because asparagus needs cold winters to grow new roots, it can’t be grown indoors. But sometimes seeds are started inside and then put outside in the yard in the spring.





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