More Asparagus!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I want to start by saying I am not a gardening expert. I LOVE to garden but you'll read very few posts on gardening at Faithfulness Farm. Mostly, because it is an area in which I feel I have much more to learn than teach. I had comments on my homegrown asparagus, and my thought was, *if you only knew HOW easy it is to grow*. That said, I thought I'd share some of my limited knowledge/experience and point to a great article that says it all.

If you don’t have asparagus in your garden yet, this month and next are the time to plant it. This is not a vegetable that can be grown in a container, so you will need to give it a dedicated space in your garden. Growing asparagus is quite easy, but does require a little patience. You can start with seeds, but most gardeners plant crowns (dormant roots) because you can harvest a year earlier.

To plant asparagus, dig a trench that is 12″ deep and 12″ wide. Set trenches 3-4′ apart. Set the crowns about 18″ apart and spread the roots out evenly. Asparagus is a heavy feeder, so backfill the trench with compost or well-rotted manure, then add more dirt. Water well and then keep the asparagus well-watered throughout that first summer, but don’t drown it either. Spread about 2″ of mulch over the area to suppress weeds. For some reason, asparagus doesn’t tolerate weeds, but a good layer of mulch should mostly keep them out. After that, it will be easy enough for you to pull out the odd weed that does appear.

That’s it. You’re done. Now all you have to do is wait. And wait and wait. And then wait some more. The plants need a few years to grow and spread. You can harvest a few spears after one year, about half the year after that, and then all of the asparagus every spring after that. The plants multiply like rabbits (but not in an invasive way) and an asparagus bed can last for years, possibly even decades. About a dozen crowns will feed one adult well during a season; two dozen crowns will net you enough for a family or to freeze some asparagus for later eating. The great thing about asparagus is that after your initial planting effort and then patience while the plants get settled, your reward will be years and years of fresh asparagus.

Want to know more about growing your own, here is an article from Mother Earth News from a few years ago, THE FINE ART OF GROWING (AND COOKING) ASPARAGUS.