In the Spring, Asparagus is one of the first crops that can be harvested.
Every spring asparagus plants send up tender shoots, which are harvested to eat. Growing asparagus from crowns versus seeds is what most gardeners prefer. For the best results purchase asparagus plants that are all-male. Varieties like Knight Jersey and Giant Jersey grow best in cold climates. For climates with less threat of a deep winter freeze, the best choice is UC 157. A patch of asparagus with a good root system can produce spears for up to 40 years, so take into consideration where you will be planting their bed. If you are choosing a site near your garden be sure to plant on the north or west side to prevent shading other vegetables because asparagus can grow quite tall.
Asparagus prefers an area with full sun and loosely packed soil that drains well. Use organic, composted manure and work it into the existing soil to about 15 inches in depth.
After the spring equinox, dig a small trench that is roughly 8″ wide and 8″ deep. On a small hill of soil, place the crowns with the buds pointing up. Space the crowns about 18 ” apart, and spread the roots out along the trench. Evenly cover the crowns with about 2″ of soil and water generously.
When spears develop,
add more soil up to the shoots but do not cover any foliage. After filling the rest of the trench, add a 1″ layer of composted manure and cover with enough mulch to prevent weeds. During the first year, do not take any spears. Allow the young asparagus shoots to grow into Ferney plants, this will promote a strong root system. During the second year, you may harvest some spears but for only the first two weeks. Allow the remaining spears to grow into mature plants.
In the third year, spears may be harvested for up to four weeks. After 4-5 years and thereafter, you may harvest spears for six to eight weeks.
The Spears can be harvested once they reach 7- 8″ tall and the tips are still firm. Use a pair of sharp, garden shears to cut the spears just above the soil. Avoid cutting under the soil line. The full-fledged, early spears are rounded and about the width of your thumb.
Later in the season,
the spears will gradually grow smaller. When the spears are thinner than a pencil, it is time to finish the harvest and let the ferns grow. In the autumn, after the remaining plants have turned brown and died, cut them to ground level. This prevents infestations before winter sets in and promotes healthy, pest-free asparagus shoots in the spring.
To your health and prosperity!
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