Asparagus is planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. The plant is grown from “crowns” (1-year-old plants).
- Eliminate all weeds from the bed, digging it over and working in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost, manure or soil mix.
- Dig trenches of about 6 inches wide and 6 to 12 inches deep. Some experts believe shallow trenches of 6 inches are best.
- Asparagus does not like to have its feet “wet,” so be sure your bed has good drainage. For that reason, raised beds can be a good place to plant asparagus.
- Create a mound in the trench and plant the crowns 15 to 18 inches apart, spreading the roots over the ridge.
- Cover the roots and crowns with soil 2 inches deep and water thoroughly.
As the stems grow, fill in the rest of the trench with soil, leaving 3 to 4 inches of the stem exposed
When the trench is filled, add a 4 to 8 inch layer of mulch and water regularly.
- Do not harvest the spears in the first year, but cut down dead foliage in late fall and side-dress with compost.
- During the second year, keep the bed thickly mulched, side-dress in spring and early fall, and cut down dead foliage in late fall.Harvest/Storage
- Asparagus can take three growing seasons to harvest; you may be able to lightly harvest during the second year.
- In the first year, just let the aspargus go vegetative to give the crown a chance to get well established. Next spring, remove the old fern growth from the previous year, and keep an eye open for the new spears to begin emerging.
- For the following years, maintain the bed and harvest only the spears thicker than a pencil.
- The asparagus can be harvested for a period of about two to three weeks once the spears start to show. Keep a close eye on your asparagus so that you don’t miss the harvest!
- After harvest, allow the ferns to grow; this replenishes the nutrients for next year’s spear production.
- Harvest for 2 or 3 weeks. After you harvest, leave the ferns so it can gather nourishment for next year’s growth.
- Cut spears that are about 6 inches in length at an angle.
- Asparagus freezes well.