The Q&A Archives: Growing Asparagus

Question: How long after planting asparagus crowns will the first growth appear? We planted our bed three weeks ago (mid-April), and partially filled the trenches with 3" inches of soil/compost/manure. I understand I'm supposed to add a few inches of dirt at a time, as the plants grow, until the bed is level. But after three weeks, I haven't found any growth. Am I being too impatient? How long should I wait before I give the plants up for lost? If I fill in the trenches all the way and the plants are still alive, will they come up through the full 6-8" of soil?

The instructions on the package did not say to soak the dry roots before planting, but now I'm wondering if I should have (the way I do with my bare root roses). If I end up having to replant next spring, should I soak the roots first?

Thanks for all your help and this great archive of Q&A's.

Answer: Taking two years before the first harvest and requiring careful soil preparation, asparagus is certainly not for the impatient! Some gardeners will soak the crowns before planting, but it is not strictly necessary. The crowns may take varying lengths of time to show growth depending on soil temperature and moisture levels and their age, so three to six weeks would not be unreasonable. Older crowns can take longer to come into growth than younger crowns.You could carefully dig down and take a look -- if the crowns are plump they are fine, just slow. In the meanitme, make sure they are kept moist but not soggy.

While they might handle all the sil being dumped on top of them at once, it would be better to take the time and effort to give them a good start -- after all, they may be in production for up to 30 years!

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