The Q&A Archives: Growing Asparagus In North Carolina

Question: I live in southern North Carolina and would like to know if I should attempt to plant asparagus. When is the appropriate time to plant? Which variety would be best to use?

Answer: You shouldn't have problems growing asparagus. Try the variety 'Jersey Giant' for a lot of disease resistance and high yields. You could also try 'UC 157' which was specifically developed for mild areas such as the south. When to plant is dependent upon how warm your area is. I think the best time for you would be early spring, about 4 wks. before the last average frost date. (You can get this date from your local extension office or weather bureau). To prepare the bed, first choose a spot with good drainage and plenty of sun. Dig trenches about 15 inches deep and 4 or 5 feet apart. Asparagus prefers a sandy loam soil so you will probably need to modify your soil bit (you probably already have the sand part!). Add a layer (approx. 6" deep) of well-rotted manure or compost in the bottom of the ditch. You can also add some bone meal -- a good source of phosphorus to encourage root growth. Add back some of the soil you removed, mixing it in with the compost/bonemeal. Form a little mound along the length of the trench. Set out the crowns on the top of this mound, spreading the roots carefully and spacing about 2 feet apart. Bury the roots with about 6 inches of soil, packing it gently around the crowns. Gently water thenewly-planted crowns. As the shoots emerge, keep adding more soil around them, until the trenches are filled to ground level. Ten plants per person should give you plenty of asparagus.

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