Asparagus is one of the more expensive vegetables to buy at the supermarket.
This is why I love being able to grow my own asparagus at home.
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How Does Asparagus Grow
This perennial is one of the first plants ready to harvest each spring making it perfect for gardeners looking to add fresh food on their table sooner.
Packed with B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, and iron asparagus is good for your health and can make a great addition to your favorite meals.
Asparagus has both male and female plants.
When planting in your garden you will not need plants that produce seeds so aim for a variety that is a majority of male plants such as Jersey Knight and Jersey Giant.
These will put out more offshoots for you to harvest than plants that are working to produce seed getting you the most return for your garden space.
Where Does Asparagus Grow?
Asparagus is easy to grow but grows best where it freezes over in the winter.
If you live in the south where winters are warm and humid you may find it difficult to keep asparagus alive.
In this case, growing in a pot that can be moved indoors to a cold room is a great way to accommodate this plant’s needs.
Asparagus is a long term addition to your garden so you want to be sure you plant it out of the way.
This will grow for as many as 20 years getting better harvests year after year. For the best results choose a place that has full sun and well-draining soil.
Seeing you will not have the opportunity to till anything into the soil for a long time to come, take time to amend the soil with quality compost and a lot of organic matter to help build up the soil, before you go about planting your asparagus.
How to Plant Asparagus
While asparagus can be grown from seed it is beneficial to start with one-year-old crowns that have a head start and will begin to produce faster.
Buying older plants can lead to a greater rate of transplant shock making it not worth the cost.
To plant your asparagus dig trenches 12 inches wide by 6 inches deep. This will give them plenty of room to grow.
Place crowns 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart. Cover with about 2-3 inches of soil mixed with compost.
Every two weeks add a bit more soil until you have a small mound.
Weed your asparagus bed often and add a layer of to reduce weeds that take hold and limit the growth of your asparagus.
In the winter mulch well and leave dead growth to help protect your plants.
In the spring trim away dead growth to give new shoots room to pop up.
When planting from seed start seedlings indoors and transplant after they have reached about 1 foot tall.
This is a great way to selectively remove female plants from any verity of asparagus.
To select only male plants, take a magnifying glass when flowers appear on your plants. Male flowers will be longer and larger than female flowers with three-lobed pistils.
How to Grow Asparagus in a Container Garden
Growing asparagus in containers is similar to the process of growing it in the ground but greatly reduces the number of plants you can grow.
For a single person, a 3-4 foot long container or two 2 foot containers will help give you a good supply to reduce your costs for asparagus each year though you can always multiply and take advantage of vertical space to grow more.
Look for long pots or opt for vary large round ones. You want 12 inches wide and at least 18 inches long for each plant.
A large round pot can usually hold a single plant well. Look for a pot a minimum of 12 inches deep.
Plant your asparagus centered in your pot or one on each end if planting more than one. Just like with planting in the ground create a mound over your asparagus slowly to help it grow upwards.
How to Protect Your Asparagus From Pests
Asparagus beetles are a major problem.
These pests will much on spears before your family can enjoy them and damage foliage that is needed for your plant to grow and thrive so it can produce year after year.
These Beatles are about 1/4-inch-long and metallic blue-black they have three white or yellow spots on their backs. Hand-picking and insecticidal soap are your best defense.
Asparagus is prone to disease and needs to be kept from becoming overly soggy.
Keep the PH level above 6 and keep the soil well draining to prevent issues from molding and rot.
How to Harvest Asparagus
In the first two years after planting your asparagus do not harvest any spears.
Your plants need to put their focus into growing a strong root system so they can provide you with food for years to come.
In your third year you will need to harvest often.
Every few days as the water turns warm. If you end up with really good producers you may need to harvest shoots a few times a day.
Use a knife or snap shoots right at ground level.
Harvesting shoots will encourage your plants to grow more so avoid forgetting to check and harvest them as the weather is warm in the spring.
Asparagus is a pretty easy plant to grow and will provide you with more and more fresh produce, year after year.