The Q&A Archives: Asparagus

Question: How do you prepare a bed for and plant 1-year-old asparagus root cuttings?

Answer: Because asparagus plants can occupy the same bed for 15-20 years, it's important to prepare the soil well prior to planting the crowns. A site that receives full sunshine is best, but asparagus will take some shade without ill effects. The soil should be light and well draining. Begin by digging in plenty of aged-manure or compost. Mix the organic matter with the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches. Then dig planting trenches about 12-inches wide and 6-8 inches deep. Set the crowns with their roots draped over small mounds of soil, and keep the plants 18-24 inches apart. Cover with soil and place mulch on top of the bed to suppress weeds. Don't harvest the spears until your plants have been in the ground for two years. (They need to put all their energy into establishing deep roots.) You can harvest asparagus spears during the third season.

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