When it comes to successfully planting asparagus, the methods are certainly a bit different than for planting traditional vegetable plants.
For starters, although asparagus can be grown from seed, it is best planted from root stock called crowns. Planting asparagus crowns not only leads to a faster harvest, but are far easier to establish than seed.
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In addition, unlike tomatoes, cucumbers and other annual vegetable plants, asparagus is a perennial crop. One that will occupy the same space for 20 years or more.
Here is an in-depth look at how to plant asparagus crows to enjoy a great harvest for years to come. We also include a short video tutorial near the end as well.
How To Plant Asparagus From Crowns
Because asparagus occupies the same space for many years, it’s important to choose a growing area with lasting power.
Start by selecting a location that receives plenty of light.
Asparagus prefers full sun, and at minimum, at least 6 hours of direct daily sunlight. Also, be sure the area will not become shaded in coming years with nearby trees or shrubs as they grow.
It is also important to select an area that can be easily maintained. Asparagus grows poorly when it has to compete with weeds. With this in mind, choose a location that is easy to access and keep clear.
Preparing The Ground – The Trench Method
Asparagus crowns are best planted using what is called the trench method. This helps establish deep, strong roots for a long-lasting productive crop.
Begin by digging a trench in the soil 6 to 8 inches deep, and 10 to 12 inches wide. This allows plenty of room for the crowns to spread out and establish in the soil as they grow.
Asparagus grows best in rich, fertile and loose soil. Before planting, amend the bottom of the trench with a few inches of compost. Next, place the crowns into the trench and down into the layer of compost.
When planting asparagus, the crown should be facing up, with the roots spread out as evenly as possible in the trench. Once the crown is positioned in the trench in the layer of compost, saturate each crown with 1/4 gallon of water. Product Link : Charlies Bagged Compost
Filling In The Trench
To establish strong roots, the trench will be filled in slowly as the asparagus grows. After watering, place a thin layer of compost over the crowns, and finish by covering the top of the crown only with soil. Do not fill in the entire trench yet.
Instead, as the asparagus grows through the soil in the trench, continue to cover with more soil a few inches at a time. This will take a few weeks until the growth reaches the top level of soil.
Once the planted asparagus has reached the top level, it is time to apply a few inches of mulch. Mulch is an absolute necessity to keep weeds out, and moisture in. Straw or shredded leaves are both excellent choices
And finally, here is the hardest task of all – not harvesting the crop in the first year. Instead, allow the plants to grow through the fall to build power into the roots.
Beginning in the second year, you can begin to harvest. And yes, it is certainly worth the wait when planting and growing your own asparagus!
For more on growing vegetables, check out our entire Vegetable Growing section on the blog.
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