|First...Will asparagus do well in Oklahoma's climate? And What time of year should I plant? I would love to have the "Purple Passion" asparagus but a little leary because of the price and never planting it before.|
|Aparagus should grow for you if you take care to prepare the bed well and give it some attention while it becomes established. The planting should last a very long time, sometmes even twenty years, if you do it right. It is possible to grow it from seed, but most people start with crowns. The crowns are
usually sold in bundles and look quite dead
at the time of purchase. A crown is a bare root asparagus
plant, and consists of stringy roots which radiate outward
from a pointed growing tip. (The bundles are tied with the
tip up and roots dangling downward; you will plant them
with the tip facing up.) They are available for early spring planting which is when they should be planted.
Asparagus needs plenty of sun and very rich, well drained
soil with an ample amount of organic material worked in
prior to planting. This is important because the asparagus
bed is a long term planting which will last for many years if
done right at the outset. The plants should be spaced about
eighteen inches apart in rows about four feet apart. The
mature plants are quite large!
Ideally asparagus is planted in very early spring. First
prepare the ground as deeply as practical, because the roots
can reach five feet deep. Then dig a trench about a foot
deep and wide enough to accomodate the crowns without
crowding. Work in several inches of organic matter such as
compost or well rotted manure at the bottom of the trench,
then plant the crowns. Cover them with a few inches of soil
mixed with organic matter and water well. As the plants
grow, continue adding layers of amended soil until the trench
is filled in. Be sure to keep the asparagus bed well weeded
and water regularly if needed during the summer. Manygardeners also use a mulch to helpkeep out weeds.
Generally it is a good idea to let the new plants grow and
become established for the first year, thus delaying any
harvest until the second year. When you do begin to harvest,
cut only those spears larger in diameter than a pencil.