How to Grow Asparagus

Asparagus is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that is easy to grow at home. It takes a little bit of patience to get started, but once established, an asparagus bed can produce for up to 20 years. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know to successfully grow asparagus in your garden.

Close up of person picking green asparagus in garden.

Planting instructions:

Asparagus is best planted in the early spring when the soil is beginning to warm up. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil. Asparagus prefers soil that is slightly acidic with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. If your soil is not in this range, you can adjust it with lime or sulfur.

Asparagus is typically grown from crowns, which are one-year-old plants with well-established root systems. You can purchase crowns from a local nursery or garden center. Dig a trench about 6-8 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide. Space the crowns about 12-18 inches apart in the trench and cover them with about 2-3 inches of soil. As the plants grow, gradually fill in the trench with soil until it is level with the surrounding soil.

Watering requirements:

Asparagus needs consistent moisture, especially during its first two years of growth. Water your plants deeply once a week, providing at least one inch of water. You may need to water more frequently during hot, dry weather.

Fertilizing tips:

Asparagus is a heavy feeder and needs plenty of nutrients to grow well. Before planting, work compost or well-rotted manure into the soil. Each year in early spring, top-dress the bed with a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10. Apply one pound of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of garden bed.

Pest management:

Asparagus beetles can be a problem for asparagus plants. These beetles lay their eggs on the spears, which can cause damage and reduce yields. You can control these pests by handpicking them or using an organic insecticide.

Disease management:

Asparagus is susceptible to a few diseases, including fusarium wilt and rust. To prevent these diseases, make sure your plants have good air circulation and avoid overhead watering.

Harvesting instructions:

You can begin harvesting asparagus in the third year after planting. Harvesting should be done in the spring when the spears are about 6-8 inches tall and the tips are still tightly closed. Use a sharp knife to cut the spears just below the soil level. Harvest for about 6-8 weeks, then stop to allow the plants to grow and store energy for the next year’s crop.

Storage tips:

Asparagus is best eaten fresh, but if you can’t eat it all right away, you can store it in the refrigerator. Place the spears in a plastic bag and store them in the crisper drawer for up to a week.

Top Varieties to Grow:

Some popular varieties of asparagus include Jersey Giant, Mary Washington, and Purple Passion.

Recipe ideas:

Asparagus can be enjoyed in many ways, such as roasted, grilled, or sautéed. It can also be added to soups, salads, and stir-fries. One delicious recipe is roasted asparagus with lemon and garlic. Simply toss asparagus spears with olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper, then roast in the oven until tender.

With these tips, you should be able to grow a successful asparagus crop in your own backyard. Enjoy the taste of fresh, homegrown asparagus in your meals for years to come!