Steamed, sautéed, grilled, pickled, wrapped in prosciutto— asparagus is delicious any way you prepare it. Having a bounty each spring allows so many more culinary options for your household, and will allow for other spending in your grocery budget during peak season. Invest just a short amount of time now to enjoy delicious asparagus for years to come.
Plant your asparagus early in the spring when the ground is able to be worked. Place it in an area that is sunny, be sure the soil is fertile and well-drained. Add a bit of sand to your soil to help with drainage if needed.
Asparagus can be grown in almost any region as long as there is a winter freeze, or dry season. If you are able to find a good spot for your asparagus, it can continue to grow for up to 20 years. Full-sun is recommended for vigorous plants, but partial shade is acceptable.
What You Need
- Asparagus crowns
- Root stimulator
- Popsicle sticks or garden labels
- Large bucket (or a kitchen sink will do)
- Gardening tools
- Watering can
It is possible to grow asparagus from seed but is tricky to germinate, so most gardeners start with "crowns" or dormant roots. Crowns are available at most garden supply stores, farmers markets, or nurseries. Planting 10 crowns will usually be enough to supply a family of four.
Prior to planting, soak your asparagus crowns in water for 2-4 hours. If you have root stimulator, add it to the water.
Prepare your soil. Clear out all weeds and vegetation, till your your soil and mix in 3"-5" of compost.
Dig your trench 8"-12" deep, with rows 12"-18" apart.
For better drainage, make a ridge down the middle of your trench by adding 4"-6" of soil. Place the crowns in the trench, straddling the ridge, buds facing up (if a bud happens to fall on it's side, it will still find it's way) roots sprawling out and down, cover with 1"-2" of soil. If you like skinny asparagus, space each crown 8" apart. For thicker asparagus, space each crown 12" apart.
Label your newly planted crop; corks, bamboo skewers and popsicle sticks are great options.
Over time you'll want to keep an eye on the asparagus and gradually fill the trench in as it grows, being careful not to cover up the foliage.
The first year, it's important to tend to your asparagus and make sure that it receives enough moisture. Irrigate the soil weekly, making sure to wet the ground 8"-10" deep. After your first growing season, the asparagus will have a more substantial root system and won't require as much attention. 2"-3" of soil moisture every week or so will be sufficient.
In late fall, your asparagus stalks will turn brown. At this point you can remove the old stalks and any other weeds.
Wait 2-3 years before you harvest and eat your asparagus. Once the spear reaches 7"-10" cut it just below the soil, about 1" deep.