Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a long lasting perennial, and the first vegetable harvested each spring. It’s prized for its flavor, rich in vitamins and minerals, and only 30 calories per cup. Add to this the grocery price and you’ll easily justify the effort of digging a special bed for growing asparagus.
Asparagus Growing Conditions
Production can last 15 years in a well placed bed of asparagus. Care should be taken to find a spot that will receive at least eight hours of sunlight in a well drained area that can be deeply dug to properly plant your asparagus. Growing conditions should be given the greatest consideration since the bed will be more or less permanent.
How to Grow Asparagus
Knowing how to grow asparagus will give you the healthiest plants with the greatest yield. Buy one-year-old, healthy crowns. Dig a trench 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm.) deep and wide enough to accommodate the growing asparagus roots. Apply one pound of triple superphosphate (0-46-0) or 2 pounds of superphosphate (0-20-0) for every 50 feet (15 m.) of trench.
For ideal growing, asparagus trenches should be 4 feet (1 m.) apart. Place the crowns 18 inches (46 cm.) apart right on top of the fertilizer. Work liberal amounts of organic material into the dug soil to provide optimal asparagus growing conditions. Use this soil to backfill the trench to a depth of 2 inches (5 cm.).
Backfill with more soil every time you see another 2 inches (5 cm.) of the tender new stalks of asparagus. Care must be taken to protect these delicate shoots. Once the trench is filled, the hard work is done, but there is a little more to know about how to grow asparagus successfully.
Weed the bed thoroughly in early spring to keep the bed weed free. Feed the growing asparagus annually with a 10-10-10 granular fertilizer. Don’t harvest until the third year and then only lightly. Thereafter, harvest up until July 1st by snapping the stalks off at the base. Then, the growing asparagus should be allowed to reach maturity to insure the development of healthy roots.
If you follow these simple directions for asparagus care, you’ll enjoy those tender and delicious spears for years to come.