Planting Asparagus: Planting Tips

Useful Information on Planting Asparagus

Useful Information on Planting Asparagus
Many people view asparagus as a vegetable only served in fine restaurants; however, by planting asparagus in your yard, you can be enjoying this “luxury” food for the next 15 to 20 years.

As the first vegetable to be harvested in the spring, asparagus is held in great regard for its flavor, nutritional value and low caloric count.  Since it is a perennial plant, it can be enjoyed year after year.  Planting asparagus will enable the gardener to enjoy fresh picked flavor when used as a side vegetable, pureed into a soup or even deep fried with breading. 

Generally, planting asparagus begins with the purchase of asparagus crowns.  There are several varieties to consider; Mary Washington and Martha Washington are two that have been around for a long time and proven to be quite popular.  Several newer cultivars, such as the Jersey and the Faribo hybrid are also great choices.  Whichever variety is chosen, it should be one that has a reasonable “rust” resistance; a type of disease that affects asparagus.  Crowns, or roots, of one year old should be purchased.  They are young enough to be resilient, yet old enough to show growth progress.

A good depth of around 8” should be the starting point when planting asparagus.  The roots will be spread out flat when planted, so the circumference of the circle of roots will determine the width of the area selected for planting.  An 18” spacing should be inserted between plants, as they will grow tall and willowy.  After the roots have been placed within the dug trench, cover with enough soil so that the green shoots are still exposed.  As the shoots grow, fill in more soil around them. 

It will take approximately two or three years for the asparagus plants to develop a good, strong root system, and the spears should not be harvested during this time.  Planting asparagus does require some patience as you wait for them to mature.  After three years, begin cutting spears that are about 8” tall in May or June.  The tips on the spears should be tightly closed.  The harvesting method is easy; simply snap off or cut the spear above the soil line.  Any spears after the beginning of July should be allowed to go to seed, becoming a lovely, fern-like growth that actually becomes the conduit of the plant’s energy; transferring it to the root system. 

Although it does take a few years before seeing the fruits of your labor, planting asparagus now will provide you with 15 to 20 years of vegetables.  There is no need to consider this delicious food an exotic treat when, by planting asparagus in your garden, you can enjoy it anytime.

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