Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tips for growing asparagus

Can you see my little ferns??!  I know it's not the best picture.  I love fresh asparagus from the garden. At a church meeting/luncheon a few years ago, someone brought some that they had grown in their garden.  It was the best asparagus I had ever tasted!  I couldn't believe how much better it tasted than what I buy in the store.

I wanted to try growing my own.  I must have mentioned it to a friend, because one day she surprised me with some asparagus crowns to plant.  My soil is like clay, so I had to work so hard to dig my trenches and fill them with good soil.  I prayed that all that work would yield crop.   A few weeks later I thought I had killed them, and then, to my surprise, I saw the ferns emerge!  And after that, a few little asparagus popped up.

I asked  my friend's husband about how to grow them, and he gave me some great tips.   So, if you want to grow your own delicious asparagus, here is what he said...

1. To keep them growing well, it is important to keep them weeded.  They can be mulched to make that easier. 

2. Dress them with some powdered limestone every year.  This counteracts the natural acidity of the soil and the effects of acid rain.  He sprinkles on a little 10-10-10 fertilizer in early spring and again in June when he quits picking.  His ferns usually get about 5 or 6 feet high.

3. Be patient! 

It is recommended not to pick any spears for the first two years.  This enables the plants to get well established.  During the third season, pick the spears for about 4 weeks.  The next and succeeding years you can pick for 8 weeks.  Just snap them off at ground level to harvest them.   Commercial growers cut them off well below the ground because they are selling it by the pound.  You end up having to break that part off and discard it.  In warm weather they need to be picked every day.  In hot weather they often have to be picked twice a day.  They start out very tender no matter how large in diameter they are.  They get tougher and stringier as they get taller and as the head starts to open up.   If the head is still very tight, they will still be tender even if they are 10 or 12 inches tall.  Pick them at 6 or 8 inches tall.  At that height they are very sweet and tender.

4. The ferns should be cut off in the early spring before the spears start to emerge.  The spears all originate in the crown which should be about eight inches under the ground level.  The crown gets bigger every year.  He said he dug up some plants that were about 15 years old and the crowns were 12-15 inches in diameter.  Some of the older crowns send up twenty or thirty spears each year. 

For more tips,check out this site.  Good luck!  I think it will be well worth it to have delicious, fresh, tender asparagus!


  1. I cooked some asparagus the other night that I had bought from the store and was really missing my Dad's from the garden. Thanks for the tips, I can't wait to have my own garden!

  2. Hi Meghan! From what I understand, Rebekah has given out some of your Dad's delicious asparagus! I can understand why you miss it and look forward to growing your own. It is such a fun surprise to hear from you!


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