How to Grow Asparagus
Author: Naufal - Saturday, 20 Feb 2016
Some say asparagus is the most demanding vegetable there is to start with. But don’t get disheartened; once it is productive, you will enjoy this nutrient rich vegetable for years to come. If it is done right, a bed of asparagus can be a one generation affair. It can take 2 to 3 years to get started and produce, but then it can be productive for up to 20 years. During their growth process, they require close attention. Here we have steps of how to grow asparagus that will surely help you in growing one. Okay, let’s start
How to grow asparagus: the first step
The first step of how to grow asparagus is to procure the crowns. Yes, crowns. Crown is a technical term for the dormant roots for asparagus. It has tentacle-like roots and a head in the middle where the spears sprout. Sure you can grow asparagus from the seed. But, growing asparagus from seed can be hard. Its seeds are so finicky to germinate. Because of this, it is not surprising that most gardeners and farmers leave this part to a professional nursery. So, instead of growing by seed, you should grow it by crowns. Crowns are available at local garden centers for a brief window in early spring. If you miss this period, you can still buy one online from nurseries farther north. Some growers keep the asparagus crowns in their walk in cooler. This is done to prolong the dormancy period, so the southern gardeners, who missed the window, have something to plant. Ten asparagus crowns can fit in a 4-by-8 foot bed and are enough to supply a family of four. If you’re going to plant the crowns, do it without delay. If you have to, store the crowns in a bucket of moist sand in a cool environment (e.g. your basement). However, this is only for one or two day only. So, time your purchase.
The second step in how to grow asparagus is to prepare the soil. Asparagus needs non acidic, well drained and rich soil. For the best result, add copious quantities of soil amendments into the planting bed to provide long term fertility. Before planting your crowns, you should remove any existing vegetation in the planting area, including their roots. Loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches over the planting area. You can do this with a digging fork or tiller. Next, you should spread 2 to 3 inches of compost over the planting area. Mix it into the soil. Dig a trench with 12 inches width and 12 inches deep where the crowns are to be planted. The rows should be 2 feet apart minimum. For each 8 feet of row space, you will need about a wheelbarrow filled two thirds of the way with equal parts of the compost and excavated soil. Add three cups of all purpose organic vegetable fertilizer into the compost/soil mixture. You can also add a cup or two of greensand to the excavated soil in the wheelbarrow and thoroughly mix it, this is to give the asparagus an extra boost.
Note: if your soil is acidic, add enough lime to bring the pH up to 7 and mix into the planting area.
The third step of how to grow asparagus is: planting. Spread the contents of the wheelbarrow along the length of the trench evenly. Next, form conical mounds about 6 inches tall every 18 inches along the trench with the amendment/soil mixture. Place one crown on top of each mound, splay out the roots in every direction. After this, cover the crowns with two inches of soil then water deeply.
The asparagus is already planted, what next? This is the last step of how to grow asparagus: continue filling and watering. As they grow, continue to fill in the trenches with the remaining excavated soil. Always keep the asparagus bed moist throughout the first growing season. To help conserving the moisture and reducing weed germination, you can spread a layer of mulch over the bed.