Growing Great Asparagus

| May/June 2006

Asparagus is one of the easiest (and earliest) garden crops to grow ? you only need to plant it once, then it will produce sweet, tender spears every spring for decades. To start a new bed, buy bareroot asparagus crowns at garden centers in the spring. Then try this harvesting tip to extend your fresh asparagus season by at least two weeks:

Instead of the traditional harvesting method ? cutting all the spears when they are 6 to 8 inches long ? allow two or three sturdy spears to grow uncut. Research at Cornell University found that as they leaf out, these 'mother spears' will send solar energy down to the roots and stimulate the plants to produce more spears than traditionally harvested ones.

Here are three more asparagus growing tips to try:

1. If you have a dry spring, keep your asparagus bed well-watered.

2. When you have more asparagus than you can eat while it's still fresh, just blanch the spears briefly in boiling water and pop them in the freezer.

3. Stop harvesting your asparagus once all the emerging spears are thinner than a pencil. This leaves the roots enough energy to produce foliage that will capture solar energy through the summer and replenish the roots for the next season's crop.

Joe Stutzman
3/10/2007 12:00:00 AM

If seaweed is not readily accessible in your area, Neptune’s Harvest has the best fish/seaweed liquid plant food available. They use cold processing so no nutrients are lost. Here is a link for this product.

12/24/2006 12:00:00 AM

I bought aq place that I will move into in 3 years This next spring I will plant asparagus patch. The last one i did was 22 years ago. I got manure from the chicken coop dug down 30 inches covered the ground with about 6 inches of manure then sand 6 inches deep then my plants. I covered them with soil I had tilled with straw and grass clipping. I did this in March I had some small sprouts in 45 days and did not cut them. The next year I ate asparagu all year until the it frosted I did leave a small row in the middle of the patch untouched all summer long and have done so each year. My patch is 3ft wide 18 ft. wide. with raspberries on one side blackberries on the other. 4 ft from each patch Montana.

11/13/2006 12:00:00 AM

seaweed is the thing!last year i sowed asparagus seed, and pricked out the seedlings as soon as they were large enough. after lifting my first early potatoes that had been grown on seaweed i planted out the asparagus and top dressed with more seaweed. this year many of the plants had over 2 doz. shoots. i did not cut any until the severe frost warning. i thought that it would be no worse for the plants to have spears cut as to have them frosted. all the shoots were at least as thick as a fountain pen. there seemed no difference between the five varieties. i have again added seaweed, and expect to have all the asparagus that i can eat next year.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!