The Q&A Archives: White Asparagus

Question: I'm trying to determine if I can grow white asparagus in Mission Viejo, CA, and if so, where can I obtain some.

Answer: You can grow asparagus in your garden in Mission Viejo. To make the stalks white, you simply need to surround the spears with mulch material to exclude light. Asparagus crowns should be available at local nurseries, or you can order from Burpee (toll-free at (800) 888-1447 or online at: Asparagus can produce for many, many years so be sure to prepare your asparagus bed well prior to planting. Select a site that gets sunshine most of the day, and amend the soil with lots of aged manure or compost. Asparagus will grow best in light, loose, well-draining soil. To plant, dig a trench 6"-8" deep and set the crowns with their roots draped over small mounds of soil. Space them 1 1/2'-2' apart in the trenches and top with 2 inches of soil. Add more soil every two weeks until the soil is slightly mounded above the surface level. After settling, your plants will be in just the right position to allow the foliage and spears to begin growing at soil level. Mulch the area well to keep weeds down and to help conserve moisture. Asparagus should not be harvested the first two years (to redirect energy back to the plants). After that, as the shoots grow in the spring, mound mulch material around them to eliminate sunlight. This will keep the stalks white.

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