Back to asparagus….

I prefer buying year-old crowns, rather than growing from seed (which takes more patience than I have). The second year after planting, you can start harvesting spears for two to three weeks, and six weeks the following year. This allows the plants to regain strength.

Your supplier will provide planting details, but — in short — I plant in rows 4 feet apart, with plants a foot or more apart in trenches about 3-4 inches deep — which I dig with my tiller. Once I set the plants in, I till up the paths between rows and rake that loose soil over the plant trenches until the crows become 5-8 inches deep (on the shallow end for heavy soils). That give me a recessed path between raised beds, which I always like.

Then I cover the path deeply with leaves, and mulch the asparagus also with leaves once the spears or ferns arise.  This is akin to sheet composting, because the leaves rot every year to feed the plants.

Harvest spears with a knife, just below the soil surface — being careful not to injure nearby spears that haven’t yet emerged. Better yet, just bend a spear until it breaks.

Remove dead ferns in the fall to prevent asparagus beetle infestation. I also drive in stakes along each bed, using thin rope to keep the ferns from sprawling all over as they tend to do. But that’s just me.

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About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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One Response to Back to asparagus….

  1. Linda says:

    For dinner tonight…from garden to table in thirty-five minutes or less…sauteed asparagus. There is nothing that compares with that pure green taste of fresh asparagus. My patch suffers from neglect and the weeds are trying to take over. I had considered letting them have it. After dinner tonight, I realized that is not an option. Best get my butt out there and start pulling some weeds.

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