Guide to growing Asparagus
If you are wondering What is Asparagus ? Asparagus (Asparagus Officinalis) or commonly known as garden asparagus, is a spring vegetable and a flowering perennial plant, growing up to a meter tall. The mature leaves are needle-like and in fact they are modified stems. Asparagus is a long lasting perennial plant. It is known for its flavor, rich in minerals and vitamins . The best part is that it is so low in calories. Growing asparagus will be worth and justified if you compare the prices at which it is sold in the market.
How does asparagus grow
The part of the Asparagus plant that is consumed is the young shoot also called “spears”. The asparagus spears that emerge from the soil after winter. The spears that emerge should be as thick as a pencil for it to be usable. Asparagus plant takes about an year to two to get the spears that thick. Asparagus can be grown either from seed or from asparagus crown that are already an year old. Learning how to grow asparagus will not only give you the healthy crop but also thick spears.
Asparagus Growing Conditions
As mentioned above, the asparagus plant when started from seed takes upto an year to two to mature to a big plant that can produce thicker marketable spears. That means there is a waiting time of up to two years if you are growing Asparagus from seed, alternately one can buy an Asparagus crown that is already an year old to give your growing asparagus a jump start. Asparagus crowns are bare root plants that are an year old that were grown from seed previously. Asparagus crowns are just roots that are ready to be planted. Finding Asparagus crowns can be difficult or even impossible in India but in other countries where asparagus is grown in large scale, it should be easy to find. Asparagus plants can produce spears up to 10+ years if taken care of properly.
How to grow Asparagus
Asparagus plants are better planted in the ground because of their long lasting nature and long time to harvest. The best way to plant them is to dig a trench about 10″ deep. Transplanting asparagus can be done at a spacing of 18″ or 1.5 feet. While covering the trench add generous amount of organic compost to create optimal asparagus growing conditions. As the plants grow, new shoots start to arise from the place when the transplanting was done. Feeding the plants regularly is an important part of how to grow asparagus successfully.
Feed the plants with balanced NPK fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 19-19-19 every 2 months. The harvesting of the asparagus spears start only after the 2nd year. Harvesting can be done by simply snapping of the spear at its base. If you follow these tips on asparagus care, you will be growing asparagus successfully.