Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Buy one-year-old, healthy, disease-free crowns from a reputable crown grower. A crown is the root system of a one-year-old asparagus plant that is grown from seed. Each crown can produce 1/2 lb. of spears per year when fully established.
Asparagus is a long-lived perennial vegetable crop that is enjoyed by many gardeners. It can be productive for 15 or more years if given proper care.
After planting, back fill the furrow to its original soil level. It isn't necessary to gradually cover the crowns with a few inches of soil until the furrow is filled in. However, do not compact the soil over the newly filled furrow or the emergence of the asparagus will be severely reduced. Spears should emerge within one week in moist soils.
Asparagus is very drought tolerant and can usually grow without supplemental watering because it seeks moisture deep in the soil. However, if rainfall is insufficient when planting or afterwards, it is beneficial to irrigate the crowns. Otherwise the plants will become stressed and growth will be slowed.
When harvest is finished, snap all the spears off at ground level. Apply 1/2 lb. of ammonium nitrate fertilizer per 50 feet of row. At this time, a home garden formulation of glyph sate non-selective herbicide (such as Roundup) can be sprayed on the asparagus patch. This will kill any existing weeds. New spears will then emerge; fern out, and provide a large canopy to cover the space between the rows. Once a dense fern canopy is formed, weed growth will be shaded out.