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Make your asparagus bed once, enjoy it for 20 years

Jan 19, 2012 -
   
  Make your asparagus bed once, enjoy it for 20 years
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.


Categories: Vegetable Crowns, Asparagus Crowns, Edible Landscaping, Organic Gardening 101


Sue Michiels Says:
Jan 20th, 2012 at 10:02 am

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

Darryl Hattenhauer Says:
Jan 28th, 2012 at 12:13 am

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

Ted Gamin Says:
Mar 2nd, 2012 at 8:56 pm

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

billie anne hammer Says:
Mar 8th, 2012 at 1:00 pm

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

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 6th, 2013 at 12:38 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?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 6th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

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

Patty Ann Cambra Says:
Feb 9th, 2013 at 12:27 am

How do you determine how many crowns to plant?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 9th, 2013 at 7:51 am

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

Laurie Cohen Says:
Mar 9th, 2013 at 9:02 am

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?

Randi Wortham Says:
Mar 9th, 2013 at 9:37 am

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?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 9th, 2013 at 1:48 pm

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

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 9th, 2013 at 2:21 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?

Sam Says:
Mar 26th, 2013 at 7:52 pm

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.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 28th, 2013 at 10:59 am

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

Holly Says:
May 8th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

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.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
May 13th, 2013 at 11:31 am

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.

Heike Deubner Says:
Jul 17th, 2014 at 10:22 pm

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

Stephanie Brown Says:
Jul 18th, 2014 at 10:36 am

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.

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