There is nothing like having fresh asparagus from your own garden!  Asparagus is just one of those crops that no matter how fresh it may look or feel in the supermarket – the taste of home grown can’t be beat!

grow asparagus
There is nothing like fresh picked asparagus from the garden!

Asparagus is different than most of the vegetable crops planted in the garden. Unlike annual varieties such as tomatoes, cucumber and peppers that need planted each year – asparagus is a perennial.  Once established, they can provide a good crop for 20 to 25 years for you and your family to enjoy!

They also differ because plants are either male or female.  The males are known to have larger and more abundant spear production, while the female varieties tend to be thinner and produce seeds in the fall for reproduction.   Most prefer to plant only the male for the added production levels.  Popular male varieties such as Jersey Giant and Martha Washington are great choices for those looking for maximum yields.  Bare Root Source Links  :  Jersey Giant  – Martha Washington

Asparagus can be started from seed or from what are called crowns – which are nothing more than the roots of 1 to 2-year-old asparagus plants.  Most, (including us) really prefer starting them with the crowns and not from seed.  Growing from seed can take up to 2 to 3 years to have edible spears formed – while starting with crowns can give you a few spears to enjoy by the second year.  It’s also easier to start and maintain the crowns – as their growth is more defined early on, making it easier to keep weeded.

How To Grow Asparagus:

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The first spear of Asparagus breaking through the soil

With the long crop cycle of 20 or more years – it is important to prepare your bed space accordingly.  Work in generous amounts of compost to the soil before planting to provide a good starting base for your crop.  Asparagus will do best in a nice, sunny location.  They can tolerate some partial shade, but grow and thrive much better with full sun.

To plant asparagus, you will want to dig a trench about 6″ deep and about 8″ wide. We like to space ours about 18″ between crowns.  Place the crown at the bottom of the trench, and cover with about 2″ of topsoil.  As the crown begins to grow through the soil, keep adding a few inches of soil until the soil level has filled in the trench over the course of a few weeks.  This process allows the asparagus to develop a deep root system to provide for years of crop harvests.

grow asparagus
In the first year, allow your asparagus to grow tall and wispy to generate good root growth.

For your first year, allow the plants to grow tall.   Resist the temptation to cut a few spears –  you want all of the growth to go to the plant and root structure.  In the fall after they have died off, you can cut them off about 1″ above the soil and place a little straw or compost mulch over them for the winter.

In year two, you will begin to see some small spears shoot through the earth in the spring. You can harvest the first week or two of spears, then allow the plants to once again grow tall and build up strength.  The year 2 spears will be smaller, but still very tasty!

Year 3 is where the fun begins!  You should be close to full harvest – enjoying fresh spears each and every spring for many years to come. After each spring harvest, let your asparagus grow tall in the beds and repeat the process of cutting back after they have died off in the fall.

Upkeep and Maintenance of Beds:

grow asparagus
Add a few inches of compost to your beds as a mulch each fall to keep them growing strong.

The biggest key to grow asparagus successfully is to keep your beds weed free. Weeds and grass compete for valuable nutrients, and a weedy bed will result in smaller, less productive harvests.  We use either straw or compost mulch to keep ours weed-free throughout the year.  It’s also a good idea each fall to put on a two-inch covering of compost on top of your beds to give some added nutrients. Other than that – once established, your asparagus beds will provide you with years of fresh and amazing tasting crops each spring!

So why not grow asparagus this year!

Happy Gardening!  – Jim and Mary

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17 thoughts on “How To Grow Asparagus. An Incredible Perennial Crop!

  • April 9, 2016 at 1:07 am

    I live I. Zone 9, close to Stockton, CA where a LOT of the country’s asparagus is grown. We even have asparagus festivals. Now, when you say “crown” do you mean we plant just the tops of them? Do we need to buy the starts at a nursery? Or Garden Center? Or can I start from what I have bought at a grocery store? Can asparagus be planted in large containers? Or must they be in ground? I plant a lot of my garden in containers, especially tomatoes and cucumbers, using trellis or cages so they grow upright. Also, I don’t have a lot of space. I planted two artichokes last year, and have my first artichoke formed this year!

  • April 13, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    You should also mention how long you can harvest. In my area (Zone 3) I have been told to only harvest up till mid July and then you need to let the spears fully grow in order for the full growth cycle to be completed by fall. Otherwise the roots wont get enough energy stores to last the winter.

  • March 29, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Glad I found you!

  • January 19, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I’ve been so intrigued by asparagus but my garden space is tiny. I’m wondering, how large is the area that you grow your asparagus in? And, is it considered invasive? Will it spread if not kept in check?

    • January 20, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Christine – we probably have an area that is 20′ long x 4 feet wide – and will probably expand just a little more. It is not invasive at all – and we can keep it in the beds easily.

  • May 28, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    We had a friend give us a bunch of asparagus. Only problem is it had to be dug up now or covered by a new driveway. I have 6 ft stalks (with seed heads) and others are about 10 inches. They all have a really good root system intact…..we had to dig down about a foot! I’m planting them in a dedicated bed tomorrow…any tipsor hints you could pass on to help them survive?

  • May 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Can asparagus be planted in a large container? I have dogs that love to dig.

  • May 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I have bought some crowns and I have them in my garage waiting to be planted,
    but when is really a good time to plant?

  • May 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    After the asparagus plants are established do you divide the crowns for propogation?

  • May 9, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for all the information. Do you give your plants any fertilizers or just rely on the compost/mulch? Is there any difference between the green or purple asparagus?

  • May 8, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I’m in year 2 of our asparagus bed and can’t wait for next year to harvest!! I didn’t harvest them this year wanting to give them more time to mature – we also used crowns – so much easier.

  • May 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

    P/S- Have you peeked to see if the queen has made her way out of her cage yet? I really wish I had ordered “packaged bees” as opposed to the “nuc” I am paniced about not being able to find the queen(like loosing sleep over it!) I’m sure things will be fine…and I will feel much better when my bees are safe and sound in their hive!:)

  • May 7, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I have been wanting to plant asparagus for years…procrastinating! Maybe this will inspire me to get some crowns in the ground- BTW…Love your blog!

  • May 7, 2013 at 10:35 am

    New at this so I ,ay be asking a dumb question, but where do you get the crowns as starters.

    • May 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Judith – Not a dumb question at all…You can order them through seed catalogs or usually can find them in greenhouses or your local home and garden stores. We found ours locally at a greenhouse. – Jim

  • May 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I enjoy your blog so much and have nominated you for the Liebster blog award. It is my learning source for all this awesome stuff that I will be getting in soon, I hope. Thank you for sharing all this awesome info. and pics. with us. Read more about it in today’s post

  • May 7, 2013 at 9:22 am

    What can one do about Asparagus Beetles? I had asparagus growing at one point, then became infested and I couldn’t get rid of them. Would love to grow asparagus again, but afraid that may not be rid of the pests!

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