Asparagus can be planted in early spring or late fall, depending on the climate in your area. Here are the basic steps for planting asparagus:
- Choose a sunny, well-drained spot: Asparagus likes full sun and well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
- Prepare the soil: Dig a trench that is about 6-8 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide. Mix in some well-rotted manure or compost to enrich the soil.
- Plant the asparagus crowns: Asparagus is usually grown from crowns, which are the root systems of mature plants. Place the crowns in the bottom of the trench about 18 inches apart, and cover them with about 2 inches of soil.
- Water and mulch: Water the newly planted crowns well and apply a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
- Gradually fill the trench: As the asparagus grows, gradually fill in the trench with soil until it is level with the surrounding soil. This process, known as “hilling,” helps encourage the growth of the asparagus shoots.
- Care for the asparagus: Asparagus requires regular watering and fertilization to thrive. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring and midsummer.
- Harvest the asparagus: You can usually start harvesting asparagus in the second or third year after planting. Cut the spears when they are 6-8 inches tall, just above the soil level. Be sure to stop harvesting when the spears start to get thin and spindly, as this can damage the plants.