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Planting Asparagus

My mother-in-law has a vegetable garden every year. She shares her produce with all the family & she does a lot of canning. She would like to know how to plant asparagus.

Nothing beats the flavor of fresh from the garden produce and that includes asparagus. This vegetable does take time and a bit more work but once established will provide years of tasty spears. Select one of the newer more productive and disease resistant hybrids. Centennial, Greenwich and Jersey Giant varieties are available in many garden catalogues and at a few garden centers.

Purchase one year old disease free crowns. Each crown will eventually produce about ½ pound of asparagus spears. These can be planted out in the garden in early spring. Some garden centers are now selling 2 year old crowns potted, growing and ready for transplanting into the garden.

These can be planted any time the plants are available. I prefer early in the season to allow the plants time to establish before winter.

Prepare the planting site in advance. Incorporate several inches of organic matter into the top 12 inches of soil. Allow the soil to settle. Dig planting trenches twelve inches wide and eight inches deep and at least 18 inches apart. Make sure you will have easy access to all plants for weeding and harvesting. Place the bareroot crowns in the trench 9 to 18 inches apart in the rows. Set the crown upright and spread out the roots. Cover the crown with 2 inches of soil. Water thoroughly and as needed.

As the plants grow continue covering with soil until the trenches are filled. Mulch the soil surface to conserve moisture and reduce weeds. Continue to water thoroughly and often enough to keep the roots moist but not soggy.

Wait two years to start harvesting. You can make a light harvest for a couple of weeks the second year after planting. The third year after planting you can harvest the spears for 4 to 6 weeks. Some gardeners choose to wait until the plants are fully established for the best possible production in the future. By the fourth year you can harvest for 6 to 8 weeks. 


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