Growing Asparagus is one of the popular trens these days.  Asparagus grows well if planted between Jan. 15 and March 15. In some areas the Asparagus is also considered a luxury vegetable simply because of its maret expensiveness.There is minimal care needed and it has very few disease/insect problems. Asparagus  gives you tasty flavor, nutritional value and may live for 15 to 25 years.

Asparagus have a high food value for: energy, vitamin A, the B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus; a medium amount of: fiber, sodium, magnesium, and protein; and a small amount of: copper, iron, manganese, and zinc; also very low in fats; and no cholesterol. It nut shell it is really a “Heart Healthy Vegetable”!

Asparagus is a cool season perennial with the following environmental preferences:

  1. Light: full morning sun with afternoon shade in this area
  2. Soil: well-drained, deep, friable loam
  3. Fertility: medium-high nitrogen, high amounts of phosphorus, potassium and organic matter
  4. pH level: 6.0 to 7.0
  5. Temperature: 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. Moisture: average
  7. Wind: protection or support after harvest when the ferns may grow to about 5 feet high

Asparagus has a large root system with feeder roots (rhizomes with buds that develop into spears) and storage roots. They may grow one foot down and a couple of feet sideways.

These days some of the new varieties such as, UC-157, Atlas, Apollo and Jersey Knight have proved as better productive alongwith other traditional varities.Home gardeners are advised to buy one or two-years-old asparagus crowns/roots. Ten plants per person would be almost sufficient and twenty or 30 would be appropriate for storage (freezing/canning) or for family purposes.

How To Prepare Planting Bed For Asparagus

The planting area or bed should be at least 4 feet wide and as long as needed for the family. If crowns/roots are spaced 18 inches apart, they should develop larger spears than those planted 15 inches apart. Prepare the bed several months before planting time.

The planting row should be a furrow 12 inches deep and 18 inches wide. If the soil removed was sandy loam, it could be mixed with compost and ridged for backfilling as the plants grow. If the soil is clay, it should be removed and used elsewhere. Then the subsoil should be loosened deeper with a garden fork. Several inches of seasoned compost or manure and some complete fertilizer should be mixed in the bottom of the furrow. Make a small mound so the crown will be on top and the roots spread down and around it.

Plant the crowns/roots 9 inches deep in sandy soils and 5 inches deep in clay soils. Plant crowns at different depths to extend harvest time. Cover them 2 to 3 inches with half organic and sandy loam mix; then wet the entire row. When the plants are several inches tall, another layer of the above mix should be added until the furrow is full.

Application of additional watering is recommended if rainfall is inadequate for the young plants.Home Gardeners should know that if the harvesting season is stretching a bit more then no excess carbohydrates should get accumulated in the storage root for the next crop.

How To Harvest Asparagus

You should not attempt harvesting spears that are less than 3/8 inch in diameter. Spears 6 to 8 inches tall are best. If they are taller or the head opens, they are less tender. Some may be ready every day or two. They should be cut off just below the soil surface at a 45-degree angle with a knife. If all of the spears from older plants are too small, the soil needs more fertilizer.

If the newer varieties develop several spears that are from 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter later in the first year, cut only one from each plant during that season. Spears should only be harvested for 2 weeks the first year, 4 weeks the second year, and 6 to 8 weeks thereafter.

Harvest time may be extended when one-half of the area is harvested during the spring and the ferns allowed to grow during the summer and fall, then pruned, mulched and fertilized during mid-winter. Also, one-half of the area is allowed to grow during the spring and summer, then during August pruned, mulched, fertilized and watered to develop a fall crop of spears.

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