Cool-Season Vegetables: How To Grow Asparagus
December 31, 2018
Asparagus is a springtime treat that you plant in winter or early spring, a garden perennial having two- to three-month harvest season. While its fernlike foliage might appear to indicate a fragile plant, asparagus is sturdy, often found in ditches along the street. In much of the Earth, green asparagus is common. In northwest Europe, white asparagus (which is blanched) is what you’ll usually find in restaurants and markets. Additionally, there are purple kinds, which usually turn green when cooked.
Though you are able to plant seeds, crowns tend to be more commonly used to start plants. When there are both female and male plants, larger spears come from the male hybrids.
Be prepared to wait. You won’t see your first spears until the next spring, and even then there will not be many. As soon as the plants are created, you’ll be harvesting spears.
More: How to grow cool-season veggies
When to plant: Winter or early spring
Time to maturity: 1 year into the first small crop; 2 years to a full crop
Light requirement: Full sun
Water requirement: Regular
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Planting and care: Choose your site carefully. The plants will probably reside from 15 to 30 years and reach 5 feet tall, so they are a noticeable presence in any garden.
Careful soil preparation is essential. Weeds and grasses can quickly crowd out the plants, so get rid of all extraneous plant substances; having an ancient enough head start, you can even sterilize the soil to remove any seeds. The soil ought to be rich and fertile, with a pH above 6. Sandy soil is best, as it ought to drain well and quickly. Grow asparagus in a bed if need be.
Dig a trench 12 inches wide and 8 inches (for warmer climates) to 12 inches deep (for cold-winter ponds), slightly shallower if your soil is thick. Place the soil you removed to the side. If you’re growing the plants in rows, then create the following trench 3 to 6 ft away. Add 2-3 inches of manure to the base of the trench, then a full fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus. Mix the fertilizer and manure in with loose soil to build a mound 2 inches high in the trench’s centre.
Place year-old crowns, spreading out the roots, about 12 to 18 inches apart across the mound. Cover the crowns with about 2-3 inches of loose soil. As the shoots appear, keep adding loose soil until the mound sits just above the surrounding soil level.
Maintain the mattress well watered and be diligent about keeping it weed free; incorporating a thick layer of mulch will allow you to satisfy both goals. Apply a complete fertilizer in fall after harvest time and again in spring until the shoots arise.
Though the plants are sturdy, there are lots of pests and diseases that may affect them. Asparagus beetles might be a problem; keep the garden mattress clean and pick off any beetles or larvae. Other common pest issues include aphids, cutworms and gophers. Rust, rot and fusarium wilt can be problematic too; seem for disease-resistant varieties.
Permit the shoots grow undisturbed the first year following planting. Once it expires, in warmer climates, eliminate the foliage. In cold climates, then let the foliage stay to assist hold snow in place and insulate the plants, then remove the dead foliage in spring until the first spears emerge.
Harvest: You are going to get a couple of spears following the first full year of growth. Most experts advise just leaving them be, but if you can not wait, snap or cut them under the spears when they’re between 5 and 10 inches; render a white snub. Quit harvesting when the spears seem feeble. The following year, the crop should continue for two to three weeks; stop reaping after the spears start to wane in size and strength.