The Fast Expensive Way and Slow Cheaper Way Of Growing Asparagus
There are two ways to consider growing asparagus
- the fast way or the slow way. The expensive way or the cheap way.
Fast and expensive is to purchase the correct number of roots and
Slow and inexpensive is to start your own bed from seed.
Slow and Expensive Directions
Let's start with slow and inexpensive method of growing.
Soak your seed
for 48 hours by laying it on a wet paper towel.
Try putting the paper
towel on a cookie tray (with sides) and keeping enough water in the
tray to keep the towel wet. The seed will begin to soak up moisture
prior to germination. Keeping the water warm will speed this up (85F is
recommended but not cooking temperatures)
Dig a trench or furrow in the garden approximately four
Sow the seed one inch deep in the bottom of the trench and
put the seed
several inches apart. Do not fill in this trench or your "growing
asparagus" efforts will be short lived as the seed will not germinate.
Seed is relatively cheap and the seed is an irregular and poor
germinator so plan on planting close together and then thinning. Some
gardeners use a fast germinating seed like radish to mark the rows and
make sure something is growing.
Asparagus seed is a very slow
germinator and it may take upwards of a month for the seed to start
growing. You'll see small thread-thin shoots that will open into
Thin the plants to four inches apart.
Gradually fill in the trench over the summer while you are
Mulch over the winter to protect the young growing
The following April - before they have started to emerge, dig
Here's where the inexpensive and the expensive but fast come
The fast folks have simply purchased their roots while the slow
gardeners (but cheap remember?) have spent the year growing their roots.
Dig a trench or furrow in the garden approximately eight to
twelve inches deep and one foot wide.
Set the vigorous roots 9 to 12 inches
apart. (The skinny poor roots can be thrown away) and space the rows 4
Cover with a few inches of soil.
Over the course of the
summer, gradually fill in the trench (every time you weed with a hoe,
pull some of the soil from along the trench back into the trench)
the time fall arrives, you'll have the trench filled in without a lot
of extra work.
Do not harvest spears the first year!
You really want to allow these
roots to develop strength.
You can take a single harvest the second year
The first week of
production (the first week that spears appear). After that allow all
spears to grow into foliage.
By the third year,
You should be able to take 6 weeks of production.
Weed control is by a straw mulch. This also evens out the soil
temperature and provides protection to the growing asparagus roots.
Organic Matter in the Soil
Asparagus is a crop (along with raspberries) that truly responds well
to organic matter in the soil. You can not put too much compost on this
If you find your spears are thin, then you are not feeding enough or
you're harvesting too much.
Spears should be thumb-thick. Thicker spears are the tastiest and these
will be produced early in the season.
Leave the foliage alone in the garden until it turns yellow-golden
brown in the fall and then you can cut it down and compost it.
Asparagus beetle is controlled by hand-picking or rotenone.
Shopping Resources for this Page
Different varieties of asparagus roots and seeds from several suppliers
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