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asparagus

ASPARAGUS

At a glance...

asparagus

Spacing:

12-14 inches between plants, 3' between rows. Closer spacing is recommended for Purple Passion, 6-8 inches. Furrows should be 8-10 inches deep , 6-8 inches is recommended for heavier, clay-like soils.

PH: IMPORTANT!! Asparagus must have a soil PH of 7-7.2. The addition of lime of wood ashes may be necessary to adjust PH.

Watering:

Plants need a well drained site. Lighter soils may require more frequent watering than heavier soils, which retain moisture better. Maintaining moisture during the first season is important.

Weed Control:

Ferns of the asparagus plant will die back naturally in the fall. In the spring mulching the dried ferns with a mower will reduce weed pressure.

The details...

Choose a permanent sunny location with well-drained soil. It is best if you prepare the site ahead of time by removing perennial weeds and applying lime or wood ashes to adjust the PH. It is best to make PH adjustments prior to planting.

As spears row up through the soil, above ground level, and expand into fern, gradually fill in the trench, using up to 50% compost with soil. Using this method helps to keep down small weeds. Within 6 weeks the furrow should be completely filled. (see illustration)

In the early spring of the second year, cut the old ferns down to ground level. Control weeds all season and irrigate as needed. You can begin to harvest asparagus the first year after planting, cut all the spears that appear for a period of 7-10 days. Once the spears begin to get spindly, stop harvesting. The second season is similar except that you can harvest all the spears that appear for about 4 weeks. By the third year, you can cut for the full season, which is usually about 8 weeks long.

During harvest asparagus roots need 2-3” of water per week.

Be careful not to damage emerging spears when cutting below the soil surface for harvesting. An alternative to cutting off the spears is to snap them. Make sure to snap the spears off close to soil level and to not leave a stub. Stubs can be potential entry points for pests and disease. Always maintain good growing conditions after harvest through weed removal. Do not remove the ferns, they will die back naturally in the fall. With proper planting and care an asparagus bed can last for many years!

planting guide
Courtesy of Ohio State University Extension

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Text by Effie Elfer - Fruit Drawings by Gabe Tempesta
Text and fruit drawings © 2009 Elmore Roots

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