Asparagus is a yummy vegetable that’s available all year round. It takes about two to three years for your asparagus plant to mature.
The three easy steps of growing asparagus are – planting, care and maintenance, and harvesting. How simple and straightforward is that! Your patience is well rewarded as, with proper care, your asparagus plant can live for 15 to 30 years!
Growing Stages of Asparagus
Asparagus is a perennial crop. Proper care produces spears every year for 10 to 20 years. The ferny foliage of your asparagus plant can also be good decor for your garden.
The packet of your asparagus seeds will indicate the plant will mature after about 730 days.
There Are Three Growth Stages of Asparagus.
Stage 1: Planting Asparagus
Plant asparagus crowns or seeds in a spot that receives full sun of at least 8 hours a day. This will make the spears of your asparagus grow healthy and thick. Use sandy soil with a pH level of between 6.0 to 7.0. The earth should have a 500F temperature.
You can start by planting your asparagus seeds indoors and transfer them outdoors once they reach at least 12 inches tall.
Asparagus crowns are the root systems of asparagus plants that are two years old.
They require less weeding than asparagus seeds and are grown to sell at the crown stage – much faster than starting from seed. They are extremely cold (even freezing) and hardy when they arrive, and they need to be planted soon after delivery.
Plant asparagus crowns in a trench 8 inches deep and 18 inches wide. Make sure the grooves are 3 feet apart. Each channel should also have a 2-inch ridge of soil. This is where the crowns will be placed 18 inches apart and with the roots draped out.
Stage 2: Care and Maintenance of Asparagus
Your asparagus plant will need 2 inches of water daily during the first two years. It will also need liquid fertilizer during spring and fall.
The growth of weeds is an issue you will need to deal with when growing asparagus. You will need to manage the weeds during the first two years until the plants spread throughout the area.
Mulch compost around the plants after planting can reduce the growth of weeds.
During the first two years, cut dead foliage about two inches above the ground. Cutting old vegetation will tend to make diseases and pests more manageable.
You can also cut asparagus when the foliage turns yellow or brown or in the fall.
Although it takes three years to harvest your asparagus spears, your plants will get established and quickly multiple after two years.
This is why you need to plant them about five feet apart. You will also need to move some plants or cut them to prevent overcrowding.
Stage 3: Harvesting Asparagus
Asparagus plants are either male or female.
The female asparagus plants develop many spears.
The male asparagus plants will give you the most productive harvest.
When harvesting asparagus, you need to know the difference between male and female asparagus plants.
Female asparagus plants dedicate much of their energy to producing seeds. They are red and look similar to berries. They appear late in the harvest season.
Male asparagus plants have longer and thicker spears, which you want in the asparagus.
If you planted one-year-old crowns, the spears of the plant should be ready for harvest in the third year of growth.
Harvest only during the first month of the harvest season during the first harvest year (year three). Harvesting the spears after a month will either weaken or kill the plant.
Harvest asparagus every other day from early May and then every day, as the weather gets warmer. A spear can get to be up to 6 inches in the right temperature.
Asparagus spears can be harvested when their stems are 5 to 8 inches long. Harvest in the morning or early evening. Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch a spear until it snaps.
You can also opt to use clean scissors or a knife to cut above the soil line. Be careful that you do not accidentally cut emerging stalks.
Stop harvesting when the plants start to appear stressed or when there is a decrease in production. After harvest, your asparagus will start to regrow and produce for the next season when you leave one to two spears.
Asparagus is an easy vegetable to grow. It is a perennial vegetable that grows in most climates, although they thrive best in USDA 4-9 hardiness zones.
Reasons to Grow Asparagus
Asparagus is one of the healthiest vegetables and is rich in vitamins B and C, iron, and calcium. It’s also an antioxidant containing tons of minerals.
It is also one of the most popular vegetables in your dishes because it is high in taste but low in calories.
One-half cup of asparagus contains:
- 20 calories
- 2 grams fat
- 2.2 grams protein
- 1.8 grams fiber
- 18% Vitamin A
Based on percentage daily recommended:
- 12% Vitamin C
- 7% Vitamin E
- 57% Vitamin K
- 12% potassium
- 68% folate
- 5% phosphorous
Asparagus is also rich in micronutrients such as iron, riboflavin, and zinc.
It is referred to as a “superfood” because it can treat many conditions, including:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces the risk of chronic inflammation
- Prevents cancer
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Promotes digestive health
- Reduces the risk of contracting flu virus and colds
- Helps in weight loss
It can take about three years for your asparagus plant to be fully established, so you will need to have a lot of patience and dedication when growing this plant.
When harvest time comes, you can be assured of a bounty of nutritious and delicious asparagus for many years.
Your asparagus plant can give you a good harvest for up to 30 years.
Knowing the growing stages of asparagus will ensure you have a sustainable crop.
Please understand that consistency and patience are vital in growing asparagus. However, you’ll always be happy you took the trouble to learn.
We hear that people who grow their asparagus are very popular with their neighbors, and usually attract ‘extra’ friends – all of whom understand the many benefits of eating amazing asparagus!