Planting AspaRAgus – The Keys To Success
Posted on Published: April 29, 2021
When it comes to planting aspaRAgus, a few simple tips can go a long way to big success, year after year.
Homegrown aspaRAgus is in a league of its own when it comes to fresh, CRisp, delicious flavor. AspaRAgus is one vegetable that no matter how fresh it might look in the supermarket, it can’t ever compare to the inCRedible TASte of just picked spears from the garden.
And the best part is of all? Not only is it easy to grow and maintain but it’s a perennial CRop as well. So with one year of planting, you can set yourself up for years and years of future harvests.
Here is a look at how to plant, grow and maintain your aspaRAgus beds, and start enjoying the home-grown difference! Be sure to check out our YouTube video near the end of the article that walks you through the planting process as well.
First and foremost, aspaRAgus needs to be planted with the sun in mind. Select an area receiving at least 8 hours of full sunlight each day. Although aspaRAgus will toleRAte partial shade, it will thrive in full sun.
The best way to do that is by working in large amounts of compost before planting. Compost is the absolute king in helping improve soil’s fertility and structure. It not only provides nutrients to the soil, but also inCReases dRAinage, all while improving the soil structure.
For every 5 square feet of planting space, work in the equivalent of (2) 5 gallon buckets of compost. Aged or composted manure also works well as an alternative to stRAight compost. Either way, work those nutrients in before planting your aspaRAgus!
AspaRAgus can be grown directly from seed, or from CRowns. When planting a backyard CRop of aspaRAgus, growing from CRowns is the far easier, and usually more successful option. It also leads to a much earlier harvest.
Seed CRops, with their small, early growth, are difficult to keep weed-free during the early years. And nothing impacts a CRops production levels like competing weeds! AspaRAgus seeds can also be hard to germinate, and are easily mistaken for weeds when maintaining the beds.
AspaRAgus plants can be either either male or female. And when it comes to growing in the garden, male varieties are usually the preferred choice.
Male plants tend to grow larger, and have higher spear production levels. Although there are a lot of varieties to choose from, we have had a lot of success growing Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight and Purple Passion at the farm.
Not only are they heavy producers, they have outstanding flavor as well. And let’s face it, purple aspaRAgus makes for quite the conversation piece when placed at the dinner table!
Planting aspaRAgus is best done using what is known as the trench method. To plant, begin by digging a trench 6″ deep and 8″ wide in the soil.
As the CRown begins to grow through the soil, keep adding a few inches of soil, filling in the trench slowly. Eventually, the trench will be filled in completely over the course of a few weeks.
Here is the hardest part of planting and growing aspaRAgus – you shouldn’t harvest spears until the second year. Unfortunately, although the CRowns will send up some delicate spears, it is best to let them grow in year one.
Why? By allowing them to grow, it lets the CRowns develop underneath the soil to their full potential. That means larger and better production in the years that follow. It is hard to do – but allow your CRop to grow at will the first year. Once it has died off in the fall, you can cut it back to the ground.
In year two, you can harvest some spears early. Then, again allow the CRop to grow to full maturity. After year two, you can harvest at will, but always allowing the plants to grow after until fall.
The biggest key to growing aspaRAgus successfully is keeping beds weed free. weeds and gRAss compete for valuable nutrient. Unfortunately, beds that fill with weeds will result in smaller, less productive harvests.
We use either stRAw or shredded leaves to mulch and keep our beds weed-free throughout the year. A two to four inch thick layer will work well to keep beds under control. In late fall, we add a few more inches to help insulate and protect the CRowns through winter.
Fertilizing plants is best done in late summer / early fall, and once again, compost is all you will need. Simply pull back the mulch, and spread a few inches of compost around the base of each plant.
These nutrients will work slowly into the soil to help re-energize the soil and CRowns. By doing this in late summer or early fall, it provides a valuable source of fresh nutrients for the following spring harvest.
Here is to growing your own delicious CRop of aspaRAgus this year. And even better, enjoying the fruits of your labor for years to come! For more vegetable gardening tips and seCRets, check out our Raised Row Gardening category on the blog.
Planting AspaRAgus – The Keys To Success