Asparagus is one of the first and best crops of spring season to start with. Growing asparagus is a plus point for our health too, as this perennial vegetable is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, Calcium and iron. Asparagus plant will take minimum of three years to really fill in and mature but it’s worth the wait. And once established, this plant will continue to provide a delicious crop for more than 20 years.
It can thrive in any area having winter ground freezes or dry seasons. If you want to grow this vegetable in your garden, here’s everything you need to know about secrets to grow this delicious crop in your area.
Selecting Your Plants:
You can find asparagus both male and female. So, when it comes to growing in your garden, male varieties is the best choice.
As they tend to grow faster when compared with the female variety. They are heavy producers and have outstanding flavor as well.
You must choose the spot which is good enough for your plant and the right soil. It performs great in a sunny location that receives at least 8 hours of full sun, however they will tolerate partial shade too.
Asparagus does best in light soil that helps to warm up quickly in spring season and drain well.
To start asparagus, select a raised bed which is about 4 feet wide and remove all the perennial weeds and roots by digging in plenty of compost or aged manure. However compost helps in improving soils fertility and structure. For every 5 square feet of planting space, work in the equivalent of 5 gallon buckets of compost.
Growing From Seeds And Crowns:
You can grow asparagus from seeds as well as from crowns. But, crowns are far better and easier to grow.
Crowns are nothing but the roots of 1-2 year old asparagus. They produce edible crop much quicker when compared with seeds.
Seed crops are difficult to keep weed free during early years. And nothing impacts a crops production levels like competing weeds.
How To Plant Asparagus:
To plant asparagus from crowns, use one year old crowns which give you a year’s head start over seed grown plants.
Dig trenches 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep and if it’s a sandy soil then dig up to 8 inches down the centre of prepared bed.
Soak the crowns in compost tea for about 20 minutes before planting. And then place them in the trenches 11/2 to 2 feet apart and cover them with 2-3 inches of soil over them.
After two weeks, add another inch of soil on it. Continue adding soil to your bed until it mounded above surface level to allow for settling.
Weeds and pests are the common issues to face when growing our plants. Weeds and grass compete for the nutrients and weed filled bed will result in smaller and less productive harvests.
Carefully remove the weeds that do appear. Or cover them with a thick layer of mulch that helps to suppress and eliminate weeds easily.
As it is a perennial crops, asparagus benefits greatly from added nutrients over time and the best time to fertilize it is in the fall.
All you need to do is, pull back the mulch in later summer and spread few inches of compost around the base of each plant. This process will allow the nutrients to work slowly in the soil and re-energize the soil and crowns.
Don’t harvest any asparagus in the first two years after planting. They need to put all the energy to establish deep roots. So, pick the spears over four week period and by fourth year extend your harvest to eight weeks.
You need to pick asparagus twice in a day to keep up with production. Cut the spears with a sharp knife right below the asparagus ground level with your fingers.