The stages of growing asparagus are composed of planting, maintenance and care, and harvesting. Growing asparagus is straightforward, but like all crops, this perennial vegetable has a set of requirements for each stage. Failure to do so will affect the crops’ yield and quality, but one should not get discouraged with growing asparagus.
You can cultivate asparagus inside a greenhouse if you have limitations in the ideal conditions and requirements. Since asparagus can have a production time longer than decades, using a greenhouse will help you manage your daily needs without fail.
Different Stages of Growing Asparagus
Unlike other crops, growing asparagus only requires three steps. First, you must learn the correct way to plant, maintain and care for, and harvest your plants. By the end of this article, you should be ready to pursue asparagus farming.
You can either plant asparagus seeds or crowns in the early spring with the soil temperature at around 50°F. If you choose the crowns, you are simply starting with a year-old asparagus plant’s root system. This is advantageous in skipping the laborious weeding as you would with asparagus seeds.
Is asparagus hard to grow?
Asparagus is not hard to grow as long as you ensure the crowns or seeds’ quality to the soil and temperature requirements. You can grow the plants yourself using a greenhouse so that you won’t experience inconsistencies with the weather and supplies.
When planting both seeds and crows, choose an area that receives full sun. For example, you can opt for a bed in the greenhouse that you’re confident of having exposure to sunlight for at least 8 hours a day. This way, the spears will grow thick and healthy.
As for the soil, it should be sandy and have a pH of around 6.5 to 7.5. It’s ideal for planting in raised beds, but growing asparagus in pots is a sustainable option if you have few resources. However, be aware that the containers should be big enough to prevent rot and overcrowding.
Planting asparagus seeds
You can plant asparagus seeds indoors and then take them outdoors for a week once they are 12 inches tall. After the last frost of spring, it’s best to transplant the asparagus plants to a temporary garden bed. The transplants will mature in the fall, and you can select the high-yielding male plants to transfer into your permanent bed.
Planting asparagus crowns
With asparagus crowns, they require a trench that is 18 inches wide and 8 inches deep. Allocate a space of 3 feet among these trenches and a 2-inch ridge of soil on each trench. This is where you’ll place the crowns 18 inches apart and drape their roots out.
How long does it take to grow asparagus?
It will take you three years to grow asparagus. It can be tempting to start harvesting since you will find spears during the first two years. However, asparagus is one of those crops that require a long time to establish itself.
You can cut the dead foliage during the first year before side-dressing the crops with compost. This will allow the asparagus plants to thrive and produce abundant crops in the subsequent years. In addition, waiting before harvesting asparagus will create stronger roots that will benefit you for years to come.
2. Maintenance and care
An issue that one can expect with growing asparagus is the growth of weeds. The first two years are usually dedicated to the management of weeds until the plants fill the area. To reduce and smother weeds, mulch compost around the plants right from the start.
As for the feeding and watering, asparagus plants require 2 inches of water in the first two years. In the greenhouse, you can manage this easily with drip irrigation. You can then feed your plants with liquid fertilizer in the spring and fall.
Does asparagus multiply?
While it will take you three years to harvest asparagus spears, these plants multiply quickly. This is also the exact reason why measuring the bed and pots is essential before planting. Unfortunately, asparagus plants are prone to overcrowding, and to solve this, you need to cut and move some plants.
You should also cut down the dead foliage 2 inches above the ground for the first two years. Removing the old vegetation will keep pests and diseases more manageable. Experts recommend cutting back asparagus in the fall or until the foliage has turned brown or yellow.
Does asparagus spread on its own?
Asparagus will spread on their own when the plants have established after two years. Therefore, it would be best to consider that each plant would need 5 feet of space to prepare for filling in. Allowing them to fern until they die is another practice to strengthen asparagus plants for the next spear production.
What does asparagus look like when it is ready?
Asparagus spears are ready for harvesting when they are about 8 to 10 inches tall. However, younger spears are more tender, which is also a common preference in asparagus. A soil temperature of 50°F is also a good indication that the spears are ready for harvest.
Cut off the spears at ground level for 6 to 8 weeks. However, be mindful of the vigor of your crops and stop immediately if needed. If the spears’ diameter gets as small as a pencil, it’s time to stop harvesting.
If your harvesting intervals are extended, you run the risk of getting tough asparagus. At the same time, leftover asparagus spears will encourage beetles in the ferns. Once you finish harvesting, apply fertilizers, and remove the weeds.
Does asparagus regrow after cutting?
Asparagus regrow after cutting because it is a perennial plant. However, the spears will return each year so that asparagus production can go as long as 30 years. Therefore, you should leave 1 to 2 spears that will replenish the output for the next season.
At this point, fertilize and mulch the bed in preparation for the growth in spring. You can also mow down the dead ferns in the fall. Lastly, be careful not to till the beds since this can damage the crowns.
Asparagus is a crop that can give you up to 30 years of production. Educating yourself with the stages of growing asparagus, from planting, maintenance, and care, to harvesting, will ensure sustainable crop production. However, you must understand that patience and consistency are essential in growing asparagus plants.
One must wait for three years before starting their harvest of asparagus spears. Therefore, it is also essential to plan the spacing and conditions of the area that the crops will use. Growing asparagus in the greenhouse will allow you to maintain proper spacing and conditions.