The Q&A Archives: Asparagus

Question: This is my first time growing asparagus. I started 4-7-98 in containers. They are getting so tall they are falling over. Is it alright to transplant them outside now? Where in my garden area is the best spot?

Answer: Did you start your asparagus from seed, or did you plant crowns in pots? The general recommendation for transplanting asparagus eedlings is to let them grow for about 12 weeks before planting out. If your seedlings are falling over, you can experiment with putting some in the garden, and transplant others to larger pots for later transfer to the garden.

If you planted asparagus crowns in pots, things will be a bit more difficult. Asparagus doens't adapt well to pots. It has a complex root system, and you may or may not be sucessful transplanting the crowns. It usually takes asparagus two or three years to get established; that could be a long time to wait and find out that they didn't transplant well. Since the bed prep for asparagus is labor-intensive, you might just want to start next spring with newly purchased roots. New crowns should be planted in spring as soon as you can work the soil. Have a new bed about 12" deep dug and prepared with a base of compost and root fertilizer. Plant they crowns about 6" deep and cover with a mixture of soil and compost to ground level. Keep it well weeded and watered, and topdress with a few inches of compost in fall. If you want to experiment with the potted crowns, it can't hurt to try, and you may succeed! Let us know what happens!

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