It’s easy to plant and harvest asparagus in your own garden, but not for the impatient. Whether white or green asparagus, planting depends on timing and the right soil.
Planting asparagus: The most important facts in a nutshell
Green asparagus, like white asparagus, should be planted between the end of March and the end of April. To do this, pile up heaps of earth the size of a molehill in planting trenches a good 35 centimeters (14 in) deep and spread the asparagus roots on them so that they are stretched out and point in all directions and do not twist. Cover the roots with a good five centimeters (2 in) of soil, but do not fill the trench until next year. You do not pile up the typical asparagus ridges until the third year. Green asparagus is not piled up.
When to plant asparagus?
The best time to plant asparagus is from the end of March to the end of April, before the asparagus plants or the roots really sprout, but the soil is already frost-free. You can plant asparagus either as a young plant with a root ball or as a bare rootstock. The asparagus for planting is best ordered directly from the asparagus farm.
What kind of location needs asparagus?
Asparagus loves full sunny locations. Already in a partially shady place the soil does not warm up so well, and a location in the shade does not suit the plants at all. The plants do not care whether you have sandy loam soil or sandy soil improved with humus. The main thing is that the soil at the site is loose, deep and nicely permeable. Green asparagus is more undemanding and can cope with almost all common garden soils. Only dense loam or clay soils are not suitable for asparagus, as well as acidic peat soils.
Is asparagus a perennial plant?
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a frost-hardy perennial that survives the winter as a leafless root in the ground. What you harvest as asparagus are the fresh shoots, the sprouts, if you will. Of course, since the plants are perennial, you shouldn’t harvest all the shoots, but always allow some asparagus shoots to sprout so they can form leaf mass and provide nutrients to the roots. Whether green or white varieties, you should bring some time after planting, because both varieties can be harvested only from the second year of standing and then from the third to fourth year bring the full harvest. But then also easily over 10 to 15 years. For an asparagus harvest as a main meal, you need eight to ten plants per eater.
How to plant white asparagus?
- For white asparagus, dig a trench a good 40 centimeters (16 in) wide and 30 to 40 centimeters (12 to 16 in) deep as a planting pit. If the soil is very clayey, feel free to dig the trench to a depth of 50 centimeters (20 in) and then fill it in a bit with loose compost and planting soil. White asparagus is a heavy feeder and loves rotted manure and mature compost, which you mix thoroughly with the soil in the bottom of the trench. Very fresh manure and young compost can possibly damage the asparagus roots. Asparagus needs a pH value between 5.5 and 6.5. For a proper harvest, several rows or planting trenches are necessary, which you create at a distance of about 130 centimeters (3 ft).
- To plant, first form small mounds the size of a molehill in the trench every 40 centimeters (16 in) and spread the long roots out on them in all directions like a spider. Do not allow the roots to twist. If you want to form the mounds of compost, still cover it with a thin layer of garden soil. To make the asparagus row even, the bud plants and already visible shoots should be longitudinal to the trench orientation.
- Then fill the trench so that the asparagus is covered with soil about 5 centimeters (2 in) and water thoroughly. In the first year, leave the trenches as they are and fill them only in the second year. Then, in the third year, pile up the well-known asparagus ridges over the trench, up to 40 centimeters (16 in) high and tamped down on the sides, into which the asparagus will grow. While still in the ground, you then prick the shoots with a special knife.
How to plant green asparagus?
White asparagus is botanically identical to green asparagus, but differs in cultivation in the garden: green asparagus is harvested above ground and is green due to sunlight. White asparagus grows under earthen dams and is harvested before its stalks see the light of day, which is why they are almost pure white. Green asparagus, however, is not white asparagus, which is merely allowed to grow out of the ground. They are each distinct varieties that are not interchangeable in terms of cultivation methods. Planting green and white varieties is the same. Green asparagus, however, is not piled up.
Harvesting green asparagus
In the spring of the second year of growth, you can already harvest a few shoots, but the actual harvest starts in the third year, from April to the end of June. During this phase, harvest all the shoots as soon as they reach 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 in) in height. Green asparagus is also suitable as an ornamental plant for containers, the sprouted asparagus plants are a great mix and background plant for other container plants.