I had never thought about growing asparagus myself in my backyard and how useful this could be considering how costly they can be when purchased at a grocery store. So how do you plant and harvest asparagus? It’s much easier and simpler than you would expect.
Over a decade of supply
Asparagus is a perennial plant that will provide an excellent return on your time and effort.
If you plant asparagus correctly, it will produce tender spears for the next 15+ years. How amazing is this!?
Use these tips for planting, growing and harvesting a yearly bumper crop of tender asparagus spears.
Planting Bed Location
Select a planting location that is in full sun. The full sun location is also not only for the summer months, but also during the fall (Autumn) months.
Asparagus produces ferns above ground during the fall.
Since the angle of the sun is different during fall months, garden rows will need to be created accordingly, so the fall sun will hit the asparagus ferns directly and promote good plant development.
Plant asparagus in early spring
Plant asparagus in early spring or it can be planted in autumn when the temperature is cooler.
Usually, one-year-old crowns* are planted but you can also grow from seeds. Planting crowns is faster to harvest as they are a mature plant.
As they require a dormant period, it’s not ideal to grow them in an area where there is no cooler season.
*Crowns are roots of a dormant asparagus.
Prepare Asparagus Planting Bed
The planting bed will need to be dug done 12 inches (30cm) deep and all the soil removed.
It’s a lot of work, but well worth the end results. Remove the top 12 inches (30cm) of soil from the selected planting location.
Then use a turning fork to break up the subsoil by pushing it into the subsoil and rocking it back and forth. Do this every 6 inches (15cm) to break up the layer of hard subsoil.
Mix compost into the removed top soil to make it lighter and more fertile.
Well-drained soil is required to grow asparagus as they don’t like roots wet.
Check ph and over 6 pHs should be kept. If it’s below 6 pHs, lime should be added to balance it out.
How to Plant Asparagus
Spread 2 inches (5cm) of the the top soil and compost mixture in the bottom of the planting bed. Set asparagus plants 15-18 inches (38 – 45cm) apart, mounding the soil slightly under each plant so the crown is above the roots.
Remove any damaged roots before planting and spread the healthy roots over the soil mound.
Cover the crown with two inches (5cm) of soil and firm well. Leave the remaining soil outside of the planting bed for later use. About every other week the plants will have grown enough to need more soil placed over the crowns.
Continue to add more soil every 2 weeks until the planting bed is filled with soil, level with the surrounding ground and none of the asparagus plant is visible.
How and when to harvest asparagus? Harvesting Mature Asparagus
Asparagus requires some patience until harvesting time comes. Asparagus spears should not be harvested the first year and only lightly harvested during the second year.
This will allow the plants to develop and store food reserves so they can produce a bountiful harvest in the third year and for many years to come.
Harvest season will last about 8 weeks in the spring. Harvest mature spears daily in the third year by snapping off the spears just below the soil level when they reach 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) tall.