This ultimate guide on how to grow asparagus will help you in growing or planting asparagus from crowns, cuttings and seeds. Moreover, get to know soil, fertilizers, sunlight, and watering requirement for asparagus plant.
Although growing asparagus requires patience and care but at last it is beneficial because of potential health benefits of asparagus.
Asparagus is a herbaceous, perennial, flowering plant and its young shoot is used as a spring vegetable. This awesome plant can grow up to 40 to 60 inches tall and have stout stems with feathery foliage. However young asparagus shoots are packed with lot of health benefits.
They are low in calories and are packed with good amount of Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Researches shows that asparagus helps in lowering blood pressure, weight loss, pregnancy, etc.
Let’s now learn the growing technique of asparagus to grow this healthy vegetable in our garden.
How To Grow Asparagus?
You can grow asparagus in USDA plant hardiness zones 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Asparagus can be grown in two distinct season. The main growing season is during spring which generally remains from March to May. However you can also grow them during Fall i.e. in late August to September.
Asparagus plant loves well drained soil that have pH of around 6.5 to 7.5. So if you have well drained sandy loam soil then you can start growing asparagus in that soil directly by adding organic manure in the soil.
But if your soil is clayey or compact then you will need to prepare ideal potting mix. If you are trying to plant asparagus directly in the soil then prepare raised bed for proper aeration and drainage.
To grow in containers, prepare potting with with 50% garden soil +
30% bulky organic manure + 20% river sand. In this mixture you can also add one to two handful of neem cake fertilizer.
Selection Of Pot
Selection of pot or container for growing asparagus mainly depends on number of plants you want to grow. Selecting large square or cuboidal container with 4 to 6 drainage holes at the bottom is good.
But if you want to grow directly in soil then prepare raised beds at 5 centimetres apart and add organic manure to the soil before plantation. Select sunny spot as asparagus is a perennial plant and will continue to grow up to 15 to 20 years.
Propagation Of Asparagus
You can propagate asparagus either from seeds, crowns, or cuttings. I prefer propagating asparagus from crown as it helps to save 1 year for harvesting. But depending on your choice you can propagate asparagus by any of these methods.
Let’s now learn about these propagation method one by one:
How To Grow Asparagus From Seeds?
One of the easiest method to propagate asparagus is from seeds. But after propagating from seeds you will have to wait till two to three year to get your first harvest.
To propagate asparagus from seeds you can either sow seeds directly in the beds or you can sow them in germination tray. Before sowing of seeds, soak them in water at room temperature for about 10 hours.
Remove the seeds from water and cover them in wet tissue paper. Keep this wet tissue paper having seeds in a closed jar for about 10 to 15 days till seeds sprout. Keep wetting tissue paper time to time but do not disturb seeds while sprinkling water on tissue paper.
Once the seeds sprout, then sow them at 1/2 to 1 centimetre depth in line at 5 to 10 centimetres distance. Place the growing container at a sunny spot and apply water after sowing. Do not let the soil dry and apply water whenever top layer of soil becomes dry.
After 7 to 10 days you will notice growth of new seedlings. You can also sow seeds directly instead of sprouting them in wet tissue. It will take around 20 to 30 days for seeds to germinate after direct sowing.
How To Plant Asparagus From Crowns?
Propagating asparagus from crowns is one of the best method to propagate asparagus. Buy healthy asparagus crowns from the nearest nursery and follow these steps.
Before plantation of asparagus crowns, dip the root part in water for about 1 hour to hydrate roots. But keep the upper crown part out of the water. To plant crowns dig trenches of at least 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide.
Plant the asparagus crowns at 18 inches apart and maintain row to row distance of 2 feet to 4 feet. Keep the crown portion to the upper side and spread the roots to all side. Cover them with 2 to 3 inches thin layer of soil. Apply water immediately after planation.
You can also apply a layer of dry leaf or chopped straw mulch for better moisture retention and weed control.
Asparagus Plant Care
Once you are successful in propagating asparagus plant then you will need to take care of the plant. Keeping good care of the plant helps in getting best harvest. You will need to provide adequate amount of sunlight, water and fertilizers to get good results.
Asparagus loves full bright sunlight. Therefore select a spot for asparagus plants where they can receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Sunlight will promote good vegetative growth in asparagus.
Asparagus plant loves moisture to grow. Therefore do not let the soil to dry for longer spells. Apply water regularly in dry season whenever top soil becomes dry. Mulching beds helps in moisture retention and controlling weeds.
Therefore you can add an inch layer of mulch of dry leaves or chopped straw time to time. Installing drip irrigation is considered best for growing asparagus in ground soil or raised beds.
Avoid excess watering or soggy soil as it can damage your plant as well.
You can fertilize asparagus plant with nitrogen rich organic fertilizers during active growing season. Start fertilizing every month from spring to fall with one handful vermicompost and two tablespoon of tea leaf compost for each plant.
In addition you can also use waste decomposer or jeevamrut to promote good growth in the plant.
If you are growing from seeds then do not harvest asparagus shoots till 3 years. But you can start harvesting after one to two years if you have planted asparagus crowns.
You can harvest spears when they are about 8 to 10 inches in height and 1/2 inches thick. Cut the young shoot from the ground level with the help of a sharp knife to harvest asparagus.