An asparagus patch is a delightful and delicious addition to your vegetable garden. It takes some preparation and patience, but the bountiful harvest that follows from the extra care given makes it well worth the effort. Here are a few steps you need to follow when creating your asparagus patch.
Pick the sunniest location available to plant your crowns in.
Make sure you rid the ground of all weeds and grass. They are a serious detriment to the growth of your asparagus patch. This may require prepping an area and removing and maintaining the ground for the year prior to planting the crowns.
Dig a trench 12” deep by 12” wide and prep the soil at the bottom of the trench. Work in a good quality composted sheep manure or hen manure pellets into the soil.
Place the asparagus crowns approximately 18” apart and fan out the roots with the crown pointed up in the bottom of the trench.
Cover the crowns with 4-6” of soil to start and water them in well. As they begin sending up asparagus shoots, cover the shoots with soil until the trench is filled level with the ground around it.
Water regularly. Asparagus naturally grow in swampy areas so maintaining moist soil will promote growth of the crowns and a more bountiful crop.
Now here’s the hard part. You have to wait to harvest any asparagus any spears at all until the 2nd year you have them planted. This is important as the spears that shoot up will feed the roots and help the patch to get well established. The 2nd year you can pick from the patch but again only pick for approximately 2 weeks, and then leave the remaining shoots to once again nourish the crowns and help them to become strong. The 3rd year and the years following you will be able to pick from approximately 4-6 weeks.
It is really important to maintain the weed free ground around your asparagus crowns. This is going to require removing them by hand. It is recommended that you do this often so that the weeds cannot get established and cause damage to the crowns. Do not use a rototiller or garden claw as heavy tools will damage the roots and crowns.
When harvesting the asparagus shoots simply break or cut off the shoots above the ground. You do not need to worry about the stock that is left sticking out of the ground. It will not harm the asparagus crown and will break down over time.
Once the harvesting period is over just allow your asparagus to grow and go to seed. They will get to be up to 6’ tall. In the fall cut off the growth which will have yellowed with the frost and remove it from the garden. Leaving it there will not damage the crowns, but it does provide a habitat for unwanted bugs (like asparagus beetles) to winter over.
Once established an asparagus patch can produce spears for a long period of time - 20 years or more!
• 15 crowns will provide more than enough asparagus for a family of 4 •