How To Plant Asparagus

The presence of asparagus in the market indicates the start of spring. This vegetable is among the first you will see as winter comes to an end and its green, tender, and nutritious stalks make it an ideal garden veggie. The good thing about it is that you can start it from seeds or crowns, depending on how fast you wish to see results. If you go about it the right way, you should enjoy fresh spears every spring for up to twenty-five years. How amazing is that? If you need details on how to plant asparagus, you have come to the right place. Here are the steps as to how to proceed:

Preparation

You need to start by figuring out the climatic conditions in your region as asparagus will thrive in certain areas. Suppose you have cold winters, the plant will do well. Where your summers tend to be very dry, the germination and subsequent growth will be excellent. However, where mild winters or wet summers are characteristic of your local area, you may have a problem with growing it. If this is the case, you can find your way around it by altering the conditions in your wooden shed to match the suitable ones. The one thing that you have working for you at this point is that asparagus is very adaptable and any adjustments geared towards its growth will be of significant help in this process. You can engage a local expert for this.

How will you start your plants?

You have two options in this case. The first one is the seeds, and this works for someone who is not in much of a hurry. You should note that seeds will take up to at least three years to grow and mature for you to get your first harvest. In the first season, the seeds will undergo germination and sprouting. From that point, they will need an additional two years before they can establish their roots deep into the soil.

If you don’t want to wait for germination and sprouting, you can use crowns instead. In this way, you can skip the first season and move straight to the establishing. Thus, you will have a light harvest in the second year as you prepare for a full yield in the third.

In both cases, there is some waiting involved. The good thing about asparagus is that you will have harvests for decades to come, provided you care for your plant.

You can get the starters from nurseries, online sites, garden stores as well as other places. Ensure that you get them from a reputable site, preferably towards the start of spring. It is important to note that these plants are either male or female. The males are better for spear production while the females are best for seeds. Once the plants establish, you will weed out the female plants. Where possible, get the male variety so that you don’t have to do the weeding out after they sprout.

Number of Plants

As you consider whether you should start the plants from seeds or crowns, here is something that you will need to think about: the number of plants. If you choose to start with seeds, you should note that they have low germination rates and you will thus require to account for any that do not take. However, the good thing about established seeds is that they tend to be hardier than those started from crowns. They also result in more spears and produce harvests for longer.

Where you choose to get the crowns, you will come across some varieties that allow you to harvest within a year of planting. You should note that there is a need for extra caution during transplanting as you could end up damaging the roots. Though you should wait for a year, you will probably spend two years waiting for them to establish and result in full harvest.

Site Selection

Your plant will keep producing spears for more than two decades. As such, you need a location which you will not require for another purpose other than this. As you do so, you need to look into the following conditions:

Sun exposure

The more sun that a site gets, the better the area is for planting asparagus. Thus, select an area that has exposure to the sun for most of the day.

Given that the plants come up towards the start of spring, you can have them in a place with trees, as long as they do not have leaves yet. The thing that you want to avoid is the casting of shadows on the seedbed. For this reason, avoid large trees and buildings.

Drainage

How good is the seepage of the site in question? You need to ensure that the soil can drain water even in the rainy seasons. A simple test should help you ascertain this. Start by digging a hole in the site and leaving it for twenty-four hours. If the hole has water after the period has passed, choose another location. If it does not, pour more water into the hole and wait another twenty-four hours. A good site will have drained the water by then at a moderate rate. Also, the soil in the section should be loose.

If you have an issue with drainage, you can opt to have a raised bed. It will allow you to avoid waterlogging problems and will also help you in keeping weeds at bay.

Planting Seeds

If you choose to start with seeds, you will need to plant them indoors, preferably in your wooden shed. Do this towards the start of spring in small pots, ensuring that there is one seed in each container. Place the containers in a sunny spot and ensure that they remain at twenty-five degrees Celsius, which is possible to monitor in a wooden shed. Also, ensure that you water them regularly. Once they sprout, lower the temperature to twenty-one degrees Celsius. Allow them to reach a foot in height before transferring them to a nursery. Place each plant in a hole that is three inches deep and allow them to grow till they reach the flowering stage. At this point, you can differentiate the genders and can thus weed out the female plants. Give the males a year to mature before transferring them to a permanent bed.

Planting Crowns

Start by preparing a bed with a width of 1.2 meters. Ensure that there is no grass or weeds in the bed before adding manure to a depth of fifteen inches. Prepare the trenches at least twelve inches deep and wide. Before you place the crowns in the bed, soak them in warm water for fifteen minutes. Plant the crowns, ensuring that they have eighteen inch spacing between them, before watering them. Add soil to the trenches every two weeks until you get to the ground level. Finish up by mulching the crops with four inches of mulch.

You can now continue with watering and weeding the plants as you prepare for a big harvest in two to three years, depending on your starters. All the best!

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