The Q&A Archives: Asparagus

Question: I would like to know how to raise Asparagus and what to fertilize it with any help would be appreciate
Kenneth Irwin

Answer: Asparagus needs plenty of sun and very rich, well drained soil with an ample amount of organic material worked in prior to planting. This is important because the asparagus bed is a long term planting which will last for many years if done right at the outset. The plants should be spaced about eighteen inches apart in rows about four feet apart. The mature plants are quite large!

Ideally asparagus is planted in very early spring. First prepare the ground as deeply as practical, because the roots can reach five feet deep. Then dig a trench about a foot deep and wide enough to accomodate the crowns without crowding. Work in several inches of organic matter such as compost or well rotted manure at the bottom of the trench, then plant the crowns. Cover them with a few inches of soil mixed with organic matter and water well.

As the plants grow, continue adding layers of amended soil until the trench is filled in. Be sure to keep the asparagus bed well weeded and water regularly if needed during the summer. A layer of organic mulch applied early each summer will help keep down weeds, help keep the soil moist, and also feed the soil as it breaks down over time. Each fall after frost, remove the dead stalks and add a generous layer of compost and/or well rotted manure as a mulch layer. In early spring, apply a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 according to the label instructions.

Generally it is a good idea to let the new plants grow and become established for the first year, thus delaying any harvest until the next year. When you do begin to harvest, cut only those spears larger in diameter than a pencil.

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