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Asparagus Crowns & Plants
Choosing the Right Asparagus Plant
When selecting from our asparagus crowns for sale, you can choose between heirloom varieties or all-male hybrids. All-male hybrids tend to produce more spears. Other factors to consider are disease resistance and color. Some varieties are all green while others are tinged with or all purple, which are called purple passion asparagus. Also, some varieties can handle colder or hotter weather better than others. Most asparagus plants grow in hardiness zones 3-8.
Getting Started with Asparagus
Because asparagus is a perennial vegetable that can live for 15-20 years, site selection is very important. Selecting a proper site and properly planting the asparagus crowns are keys to growing asparagus spears for years and years. Asparagus plants require full sun (at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily) and well-drained, sandy soil. If you have clay soil, select a space where the water doesn't saturate the soil, such as a hilltop or hillside. Amending the soil with composting aids or aged manure helps. Also, asparagus roots prefer a soil pH of about 6.5-7. It doesn't like acidic soils. If planting in the spring, the soil bed should be prepared in the fall.
What's the Difference Between Asparagus Crowns and Asparagus Roots?
The terms asparagus crowns and asparagus roots are often used interchangeably. Asparagus crowns often refer to 1-year-old, dormant asparagus roots that are planted in the spring. Asparagus roots are a more general term for the roots of the plants--whether they are three months old or 10 years old.
When Do You Plant Asparagus Crowns?
Asparagus crowns are usually planted in the spring about 2-4 weeks before the last spring frost date for your area. Gurney's also offers asparagus plugs that can be planted in the fall.
How Do You Plant Asparagus Crowns?
Asparagus crowns are planted in a trench that is 6-12 inches deep and spaced 12-18 inches apart. We recommend mixing Gurney's Asparagus Food into the soil prior to planting. Before planting, soak the asparagus crowns in water for 20-30 minutes. Place the crown in the trench and spread out the asparagus roots. Cover with a few inches of soil and water. As the plants emerge, add more soil around them. Continue doing this until the trench is filled in and slightly higher than the soil level. This allows for some settling. Apply a thin layer of mulch to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Asparagus?
During the first year, asparagus spears appear but do not harvest them. This allows the plants to establish themselves and develop strong roots. During the second year, harvest the plants lightly for a few weeks. During the third year, harvest the spears for up to two months.
Other Tips on Growing Asparagus Plants
Asparagus plants are heavy feeders, and we recommend using an all-natural fertilizer, like Gurney's Asparagus Food, twice a year. It can be side-dressed into the soil as shoots begin emerging in the spring and after the harvest is completed. Allow the ferns to grow through the summer and fall. Once they turn brown in the fall, they can be cut down to ground level. This can also be done in early spring before new growth appears.