Everything you ever wanted to know about asparagus roots

 Asparagus Roots

asparagus roots
asparagus roots

For an early treat from your garden, try planting asparagus roots.  Asparagus is the earliest vegetable you will be able to harvest from your garden in the spring.  It’s also one of the most nutritious veggies, and many people enjoy the unique flavor. 

One of the best things about asparagus roots is that they are perennials, which means they keep coming back from the same root system every year.  You may not even need to plant more asparagus roots for 15 years or more!  This is also why you should choose your location very carefully.  Asparagus roots need well-drained soil that’s in direct sunlight, so steer clear of any areas that will be under shade in a few years if you’re planting trees also. 

When you first plant the asparagus roots, you’ll have to spend the summer before you plant actually preparing the area.  You’ll want to make sure you clear all the weeds out of the area, especially those that are also perennial.  These can choke your asparagus year after year if you don’t clear them out before you plant.  After the weeds are cleared out, then you’ll want to start fertilizing.  Use a 5-10-5 fertilizer in the area.  You’ll probably need about a pound per 100 square feet. 

When it comes time to purchase your asparagus roots, look for some that are about a year old.  Roots that are older than a year tend to be very fragile and may even be more prone to certain types of diseases.  If you really want to start growing your asparagus from scratch, then you will want to plant seeds in pots indoors around the same time that you start preparing your bed outside.  This will give you one year old asparagus roots that you can easily transplant into the garden the following spring. 

When planting your roots, space them about 18 inches apart in rows.  You’ll need four feet between the rows.  You’ll also need to plant them in trenches, so dig about eight inches down before you plant the roots.

Growing asparagus does take a bit of work.  You may have to add more soil as the plants grow taller in the trenches.  You also won’t get any asparagus out of your plants until the third year.  This will allow the veggies to grow a very healthy root system, which is certainly different than other types of vegetable plants.  The first year you cut some asparagus spears, you also won’t get as many as you would the other years.  You’ve got to ease your plants into production, harvesting no more than three weeks the first year you can harvest.  Gradually over the years, your harvest time will increase to six weeks.

Harvest begins toward the end of May.  Just cut the spears when they are about eight inches long.  Spears that are slightly shorter are ok too.  You’ll also want to make sure you choose the thick spears.  Use a sharp knife to cut the spear off at an angle right above the ground.

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