The Q&A Archives: Asparagus Planting

Question: How many asparagus plants would you suggest planting in a 8' by 4' raised bed and at what spacing?<br>

Answer: I would plant two 8" rows, as far apart as possible (but not right next to the edge of your raised bed, with 5 plants per row for a total of 10 plants. Following are some asparagus basics:<br><br>Asparagus is usually planted approximately 4 wks. after the last frost date for your area. Plant asparagus in rows, 4' between them. Dig trenches about 15 inches deep. Add a layer of well-rotted manure or compost in the bottom of the ditch. Add back some of the soil you removed, mixing it in with the bone meal. 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 the newly-planted crowns. <br><br><br>As the shoots emerge, keep adding more soil around them, until the trenches are filled to ground level. Ten plants per person is the usual recommendation. Regarding variety, I recommend 'Jersey Giant' from Burpee. You can obtain it by calling 1-800-888-1447 or revisiting the website. Jersey Giant is very disease resistant and produces high yields. <br><br>The first year you will see a few pathetic looking spears come up...don't pick them! The plant matures by letting these spears turn into "ferny" foliage and this takes a few seasons. Don't cut the foliage down until late winter when it browns completely. The second year there will be more spears...sorry, don't pick them either. (You can pick a few that are about the diameter of your finger only. Wait until the third year to begin harvesting. <br><br>Clean out as many weeds as possible in spring and mulch the bed after cutting of asparagus is finished with a 4-6" layer of compost.This will bury annual weed seeds and make it hard for perennials to grow. You'll still have to weed, but hopefully it'll be less of a chore.<br>

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