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Asparagus
Crowns & Roots
 
6" - 8" inches deep

Space plants about 12" - 14" inches apart

Make rows about 5' feet apart

When daytime temp exceeds 75-85 ̊ Spring Likes FULL SUN

How to Grow & Harvest Asparagus from Crowns and Roots 

An attractive and delicious perennial vegetable, asparagus can thrive for years. It may grow for up to 20 years or more in the same spot, given the proper care.

A tasty addition to meals, soups, and salads, this easy-to-cook vegetable is low in calories and high in vitamin A, riboflavin, and thiamine.

Those who want to grow from crowns (roots) can try our best-tasting Purple Passion and our extremely high-yielding Jersey Knight variety. We also offer seeds for Mary Washington, the most popular variety in the U.S.

Soil and Fertilizing

It’s best to have your soil tested before planting, so you know what nutrients and pH adjustments may be needed to support your crop. For a thorough soil test, consult your local county extension office.

Asparagus prefers a deep, well-drained sandy soil with a pH level between 6 and 7, but can do just fine in other soils as long as they’re well-drained. Too much rain or poorly drained soil will threaten the health of the plants.

Planting and Watering Crowns

Asparagus prefers sunny days, and needs a long growing season to do best, with ideal daily temperatures of 75-85 degrees and nightly temperatures of 60-70 degrees.

Choose healthy crowns with firm, fleshy roots. Avoid shriveled or papery roots, because they’re unlikely to produce.

It is best to fertilize based on soil test results. But if you lack those results, spread nitrogen at 75 pounds an acre; phosphorous at a rate 250 pounds per acre; and potassium at 300 pounds per acre. Scale down this amount based on the size of your asparagus patch.

Create a V-shaped trench 6-8 inches deep for your crowns, and apply super triple superphosphate (0-46-0) in the trench at 200 pounds per acre in addition to the other phosphorous you’ve applied. Plant your crowns 12-14 inches apart for thicker spears; 8-10 inches is sufficient for thinner spears. Don’t worry about the direction the buds are facing. Cover your crowns with 1-2 inches of soil to protect them from the sun.

As the asparagus begins to grow, fill the trench gradually with more soil, being careful not to cover the foliage. It should reach ground level by the end of the growing season. Side dress a 5-10-10 fertilizer in late July or early August, at the rate indicated by your soil test.

Asparagus needs a decent application of water to produce well during the first year of growth. Irrigate weekly, wetting the soil to eight inches below the surface. After the first year, cut back to 2-3 inches of water, applied slowly, every two weeks when the weather is dry enough to require it


About Asparagus

Asparagus can be considered a power food among veggies. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, delivering a more complete balance than any other. Asparagus is a good source of vitamin A, B6 and C, as well as iron, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. It is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, contains no fat, no cholesterol and has only 20 calories per 1/2 cup serving. One serving of asparagus also provides more folic acid (1/2 the recommended allowance) and glutathione than any other vegetables. Studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute found that glutathione, a potent cancer fighting agent, was higher in asparagus than any other food tested. An established bed of 25 asparagus plants will produce about 10 pounds of asparagus per year.

Since asparagus is a perennial vegetable, and can produce for up to 30-50 years, it is very important to prepare the soil properly. The best soil is sandy, well drained loam, heavily enriched with well-rotted manure and compost. Ground prepared in this way dries out quickly in early spring, to spur the early growth of the spears. The pH should be about 7.5. Average garden soil, however, will support a good asparagus crop, provided it drains well. Rocky New England soil will hamper the development of strait spears. Fertilization application: 4 pounds of 5-10-10 per 100 square feet, or generous quantities of bone meal or ground phosphate rock and wood ash. Asparagus craves phosphorus, which is usually abundant in composted manure and kitchen waste compost. If you can fit it in your gardening schedule, prepare the asparagus bed in the late summer or fall to be ready for planting the following spring. This provides a chance to plant a nitrogen fixing green manure crop like buckwheat. Asparagus has a pretty good appetite for nitrogen.

Dealing with Asparagus Pests

Asparagus beetles
are the main pest that damages asparagus fronds. There are two common species, the common asparagus beetle (black, white, and red-orange) and the spotted asparagus beetle (red-orange with black spots), both of which are about 1/3 inch long. They can effectively be hand picked from the plants when found, look for them in the morning when it is too cool for them to fly.

The beetles overwinter in the plant debris, so removing fronds in winter will reduce their numbers eventually. Lady beetles and several small wasp species are major asparagus beetle predators that are naturally occurring.

Asparagus beetle eggs look like stubby brown hairs. Wipe them off the spears with a damp cloth. Asparagus beetle larvae are soft, grey, slug-like creatures with black heads are unable to crawl back up into position if swept off the plants. Many gardeners allow their chickens to pick through the asparagus beds for 3-5 days over winter to eliminate any leftover beetles. If you have a problem, and don't raise poultry, setup a spring trap crop. Don't cut the spears in spring within this plot, and patrol often to collect as many adult asparagus beetles as possible. In late summer cut the fronds 2 inches from the ground and compost them. In three weeks or so, you can harvest a fall crop of spears from your trap crop plot.

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