planting asparagus and potatoes - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Beth Marks
phoenix, Ar
Question by bmarks03
January 7, 2010
zip code 85022. How should I go about planting them. I bought the starters at HD, but not sure what to do and what kind of crop to expect. Does 1 potato grow 1 potato? does one asparagus stalk grown one stalk? If so, what is the point of planting and waiting, vs. grocery shopping and paying :)??

Answer from NGA
January 7, 2010


Good questions! Both potatoes and asparagus should be planted now in prepared beds. Potatoes can be cut into pieces and allowed to air dry for a day or two before being planted. Each piece should have at least one "eye". Potato plants will develop many tubers; asparagus crowns will develop many edible stalks so you'll spend less for plants that you grow in your own garden than if you purchased the same amount of potatoes and asparagus they produce at the grocery store. Planting your own is more economical.

Potatoes will grow and produce an edible crop in about 100 to 120 days. Plant them in full sunshine. The plants will grow bushy and will develop flowers. When the flowers appear it indicates tubers are developing underground. Some gardeners harvest shallow "new" potatoes at this time. But if you simply leave the plants alone they will develop lots of tubers and when the tubers are mature the tops of the plants will die down. At that time you can carefully dig and harvest your treasures.

Asparagus is a more long term investment. The crowns will develop a few small spears its first year in the garden but the spears should not be harvested. Instead, allow them to develop into ferny looking foliage. The foliage will manufacture and transport carbohydrates back into the crowns. The second year you can harvest a few of the spears, leaving most of them to develop into ferny foliage. By the third year you can harvest for a 3-4 week period, cutting the stalks when they are 6-8" long. Allow the later developing spears to develop into foliage to replenish the crowns.

Hope this information answers all your questions!

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