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Planting Asparagus

Planting Asparagus

Planting Asparagus

Storage:

 If you have to store the crowns for more than a day or two, place them in a bucket of moist sand in a basement or other cool environment until you are ready to plant.

Soil: 

Soil preparation is critical for the maximum potential of any plant. Asparagus plants thrive in rich, well-drained, non-acidic soil. They prefer a pH balance of 7.0. Soil given this careful preparation will create an abundant asparags crop for decades. *Your local cooperative extension service office can test your soil pH and tell you exactly how much lime to add to bring it up to 7.0. You should use a lime that is high in Calcium. Asparagus feeds heavily on Calcium

Preparing the Bed:

  • Remove any existing vegetation from the planting area, including roots.
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of 6 or 8 inches, mixing in 2 to 3 inches of compost over the planting area.
  • Dig a trench 12 inches wide by 12 inches deep where the crowns are to be planted. Rows of asparagus should be at least 2 feet apart.
  • Add three cups of all-purpose organic vegetable fertilizer into the soil/compost mixture for every 8 feet you are planting. To give the asparagus an extra boost, add a cup or two of greensand (an all-natural fertilizer that is high in potassium) to the excavated soil in the wheelbarrow and thoroughly mix.

Planting:

  • Form conical mounds about 6 inches tall every 18 inches along the base of the trench with the soil/amendment mixture.
  • Place the crowns on top of each mound with the roots 'spidered' out in every direction.
  • Cover the crowns with two inches of soil (filling in the spaces between each mound, as well).
  • Water deeply, once.

Continue filling and watering:

  • As the asparagus grows, continue to fill in the trenches until slightly rounded.
  • Keep the asparagus bed moist, but not soggy throughout the first growing season.
  • Spread a layer of mulch over the bed to help conserve moisture and reduce weed germination.

It’s important to wait at least one year after planting asparagus before harvesting, so the plants can put as much energy as possible into developing a root system. In the second year, it’s OK to harvest any spears larger than a pencil for a week or so. In the third year, increase the harvest period to two weeks and in the fourth and subsequent years you can harvest all the spears that emerge over a six-week period.

Unharvested spears will unfurl into a lacy canopy of foliage about 3 or 4 feet tall by early summer. Allowing the stalks to grow each year is necessary for maintaining a strong root system — making it possible for the asparagus to come back year after year with bigger and bigger spears.

For more information, go to: Asparagus Infomation.


Plant Varieties:

  • Jersey Giant
    All male hybrid variety. Green spear with purple bracts. High yields. Top seller.

  • Jersey Knight
    Emerges a few days later than 'Jersey Supreme'. Green spear with purple bracts. Very cold hardy but also yields well in the south. Does very well on heavy soils.

  • Jersey Supreme
    Early variety. Has the potential to out yield 'Jersey Giant'. Spears are medium sized.

  • Mary Washington
    Mary Washington is the oldest and most well known asparagus variety in America.

  • Viking KB-3
    Viking is an open-pollinated hand-selected and improved strain on MW.

  • Purple Passion
    Burgundy colored spears with green interior. Sweeter than green asparagus. Open pollinated variety. Produces many seeds. Produces big spears, so spacing should be reduced to 8 inches between plants.

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