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Make Your Asparagus Bed Once & Enjoy it for 20 Years!

By on January 19, 2012

The ferny asparagus growth will be an ornamental part of your garden.

Want to grow vegetables and  take it easy? Perennial vegetables are the way to go.

Supreme among the perennial vegetables is asparagus—plant it and then reap the benefits for up to 20 years.

An asparagus bed (raised or not) will produce over and over again, and you’ll be dining on delicately flavored, homegrown spears you can pick just before a meal—which might be each meal during asparagus season. Did you ever hear anyone say, No thanks, I’ve eaten enough asparagus this week?

Preparing a bed of rich, light, well-drained soil is the foundation for this garden treasure. In our video Tricia amends the soil in one of her raised beds with organic compost and adds slow-release phosphorus and potassium.

If you’re planting in new ground you’ll need to do some double digging—don’t run away, you only have to do this once every 20 years—to thoroughly enrich and aerate the soil. Our video has an animation showing you how.

THE TRICK IS IN THE TRENCH

Asparagus crowns should spread their roots in trenches. UC Davis suggests a trench eight inches deep, and the University of MIssouri recommends a six inch depth. Add fertilizer or an inch of compost, then an inch of soil. Lay the roots flat on either side of the crown and cover all with two inches of soil. Keep an eye on your new plants; as they grow, add more soil so the asparagus is always under two inches of soil. Once the trench soil is level with the surrounding soil you can stop. See? Not so bad.

HOW TO GROW WHITE ASPARAGUS


Still life with asparagus Adriaen Coorte c.1697

Did you know white asparagus is not a different variety from green asparagus? They grow from the same crowns.

To make the stalks white, continue the soil-adding process you used to cover the new crowns. You can substitute straw for soil, if you prefer. This time you will be “hilling up” around the stalks as they grow. The stalks will stay white as long as they are not exposed to the sun.

THE ASPARAGUS BED IN WINTER

For tips on getting your asparagus bed ready for winter, watch our video on Fall Perennial Vegetable Care.

ONE OF THE BEST INVESTMENTS IN GARDENING

Choose a sunny spot for your asparagus bed; you might want to place it where you can appreciate the ferny growth as it waves in the breeze.

Dig, enrich, hill up—and you’re set for years to come.

Our asparagus crowns come with our own Growing Guide. For more information, see Growing Asparagus in the Garden from the UC Davis Cooperative Extension and Growing Asparagus in Missouri from the University of Missouri Extension. These links are helpful in determining how deep to plant the crowns, depending on your climate.

  Comments (23)

S

great source of information…..keep the video clips coming!

Posted by Sue Michiels on Jan. 20, 2012 at 9:02:39 AM

D

After you plant asparagus, how long will it be before the first shoots come up?

Posted by Darryl Hattenhauer on Jan. 27, 2012 at 11:13:46 PM

T

Darryl H. : Mine came up 2 months after planting. I didn’t pick any the first year & let them go to seed. The second year they were more plentiful so I began picking 2/3rds of those stalks. This allowed the roots to pack nutrients in that first year & store for next years growth. HTH

Posted by Ted Gamin on Mar. 02, 2012 at 7:56:29 PM

B

Keep the videos coming, they are sooo helpfull. Thanks. billie

Posted by billie anne hammer on Mar. 08, 2012 at 12:00:57 PM

Sue Michiels and Billie Anne Hammer, Glad you are liking the videos! We film a new one each week. Any topics you’d like us to cover?

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Feb. 06, 2013 at 11:38:40 AM

Ted Gamin, Thanks for answering Darryl’s question so well!

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Feb. 06, 2013 at 11:50:39 AM

P

How do you determine how many crowns to plant?

Posted by Patty Ann Cambra on Feb. 08, 2013 at 11:27:18 PM

Patty, Plant crowns 1’ apart. A planting rule of thumb is 10-20 crowns per person.

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Feb. 09, 2013 at 6:51:42 AM

L

I have planted asparagus here in zone 10, but at my second year, I’m not seeing much new growth at all. Got any suggestions?

Posted by Laurie Cohen on Mar. 09, 2013 at 8:02:39 AM

R

Recognizing that one would have a very small crop, how about planting a few roots in large pots for the patio?  Would overwintering be a problem?

Posted by Randi Wortham on Mar. 09, 2013 at 8:37:05 AM

Randi, Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Use our Growing Guide for spacing and other suggestions http://groworganic.com/media/pdfs/asparagus-l.pdf and get pots (maybe SmartPots) that are about 20” deep. That wide would be helpful too. Then following our planting directions. Overwintering should not be a problem. Here are Smart Pots (they air prune the roots, and were developed for the tree nursery trade, so big plants in them are fine) and the 45 gal. would be good http://www.groworganic.com/growing-supplies/seed-starting/smart-pots.html

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Mar. 09, 2013 at 12:48:04 PM

Laurie, Hmm. If you harvested any spears in the first year that would have weakened the plants. They need good drainage, plenty of water in the first 2 years, and a weed-free bed of rich soil with plenty of compost. Zone 10 should be fine for them. Does this help?

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Mar. 09, 2013 at 1:21:51 PM

S

Laurie, you must have drainage, but have deep soil.  In the deep south raised beds often get too high soil temp during our summers. (unless a hydro drip system is used) If the soil’s right, you need to wait till the spears are fat, give them three years.  The biggest thing is protecting them during our summers; this is a yankee veggy, regardless of how good it tastes.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 26, 2013 at 7:52:44 PM

Sam, Thanks for your tips on growing asparagus in warm climates!

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Mar. 28, 2013 at 10:59:28 AM

H

We planted crowns in a new raised bed about a week ago. We are in the Pacific Northwest. We are wondering how long until we should see activity?  Also while they are getting established how much water should we give them? It has been uncharacteristically dry and quite warm here.

Posted by Holly on May. 08, 2013 at 6:38:03 PM

Holly, Asparagus growth is a response to the average temperature it is experiencing.  As the night temps increase, growth will accelerate.  The crowns will need some time this year to get established before they can push out any growth safely (without compromising the health of the entire plant).  How soon depends on numerous variables including the temperature, soil moisture, soil nutrients, and quality of the crowns.  I would hope that in a month’s time there would be some signs of growth.

The beds should be moist, but not saturated.  The surface should not be allowed to crust over, but it can become relatively dry.  It is the soil beneath the surface that must remain moist to touch.

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on May. 13, 2013 at 11:31:20 AM

H

I am looking for crowns to plant now. Do you have any for sale, or can you point me in the right direction?
Thanks!

Posted by Heike Deubner on Jul. 17, 2014 at 10:22:58 PM

Hello Heike,

The asparagus crowns are a seasonal item for use. We only carry the crowns when they are dormant in the winter so they can be easily shipped and not suffer in transit. If you are local we often have potted asparagus available in our nursery. Otherwise it’s best to wait for the dormant season.

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Jul. 18, 2014 at 10:36:09 AM

J

Hi! So, is it best to plant the crowns in the dormant season?Do we need to wait to plant until danger of frost has past? We live in Georgia.  You mentioned the summers being hard for asparagus.  Would it help to plant directly in the ground instead of a raised bed? If so, how deep would we need to dig the bed to be able to trench it correctly?  Also, we are organic growers. Are there better varieties for our summer heat? We are in zone 7. Would it be best to pick a spot that gets morning sun but afternoon shade?

Sorry for all my questions.  Thank you in advance!

Posted by Jennifer on Jan. 22, 2015 at 2:41:42 AM

Check out our video on planting and growing asparagus for the answers to your questions. Here is the link, http://www.groworganic.com/organic-gardening/videos/planting-and-growing-asparagus.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Jan. 30, 2015 at 4:28:43 PM

T

planted crowns first of april in victoria bc.

8 inch high plants by first of may

Posted by thomas davidson on Apr. 28, 2015 at 2:26:11 PM

P

Last year I will planted and nice ferny sprouts came up. In Nc we had a hard winter. Its may 20 and I see no signs of growth. Did they die?

Posted by Pam chappell on May. 20, 2015 at 2:12:28 PM

There is a strong possibility that they did not survive. Do you have gophers? If so did you protect your bed with gopher wire? Did you mulch heavily over the winter? Unless your ground froze they probably did not die from cold weather, unless you had a period of warm weather and they stared to grow, then it got cold again. Dig around the area where you think they are and see what is left.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 22, 2015 at 8:55:33 AM

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