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Asparagus Spears

ASPARAGUS
and how to plant it.
First you dig a ditch!


Why you should buy the roots instead of seeds

     This is why you can't grow asparagus as an annual. The plants are only this big when they come up from seeds! The nickel is for size comparison.

     There is no point in trying to start your asparagus from seeds. It will take a YEAR longer than was explained on the previous page. It CAN be done; I did some of it that way, just to see if I COULD. But my first beds were started from roots. You can get your roots from the local farm supplies store, or you can mail order them. It doesn't matter; they are going to appear dry and lifeless either way! But believe it or not, most of them will GROW! This is where growing your own is an advantage; you will KNOW that they are fresh. But you will still have to transplant them. Growing your own will NOT save the next step....

Digging the trench

     Pick out a spot that is in full sun all day long, and is reasonably well drained. If the ground stays wet and muddy well into the spring, the roots will not do well. The idea is to plant the roots deep in the ground so that they will never get too dry during the summer. An added bonus is that you can cultivate or harrow right over the top of them during the off season. Dig a trench at least 10" deep. If you are going to have more than one row, center the trenches 5 feet apart. Now put a layer of manure or compost in the trench (about 2" worth, loose) and cover it with about an inch of dirt. Pack this down.

Planting

     Space the roots 18" apart in the trench. Spread each one out so that it looks like an octopus, with its "crown" in the middle. Cover the extremities of the roots with plenty of dirt, but don't put more than an inch over the crowns. Note: we are NOT filling in the trench. We are going to spend the rest of the summer doing that, slowly, as the plants begin to grow. Every time they need weeding, you can put a little more dirt back in the trench, until, by the end of summer, the ground is again level.
     The first year, the plants won't get much bigger than the one in this picture. The pencil is there to show the relative size.

Care

     The three most important things to remember in caring for your asparagus bed from this point on are:

1. Keep it weeded.
2. Keep it weeded.
3. Keep it weeded.

     Have I emphasized that? It's a lot of work, I know, but if you really like asparagus, you'll find that it is worth it. If you plant this year (), you can taste your first samples in the summer of , and in you can pick all you want! Good idea not to WAIT! Get out there!
     If you don't do it THIS year, in you will STILL have no asparagus!!





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6/15/03