Asparagus questions? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have done a lot of reading on asparagus and have found that there are so many varitations in the "experts" answers that I thought I would ask some of you who raise asparagus if I can get your advice.

This past year I put in an asparagus bed. I did the trench method and some of the roots were put in 18" while others were put in only about 6". (The roots came in before I could dig it down 18") After I had dug (by hand) the trenches, I read that they need to be only 6" deep. Also I have read that if you plant asparagus at different depths you get an extended harvest. What do you think?

How many plants do you need for a family of 4. Some place I read that 25 plants were enough. In another place I read you should have 20 plants per person. I put in 25 roots (24 took) but I'm thinking about putting in 15 more next year. How many are enough?

How long do asparagus plants keep sending out spears? This year I have not cut any spears to help the roots get established. I thought that asparagus sent out spears only in the spring, but after planting they have continued to send out spears. Since the rains have come they are really sending out spears. Do they do this all summer or is this because they are new roots? When they are established how long do you harvest if they put out spears all year long?

I have also read that you should not harvest any spears for the first three years. However, the place I ordered my roots from said you can harvest for a week the second year and two weeks in the third year and after that as much as you want. What do you think?

-- Tom S. (, August 31, 2001


Dear Tom, If you all really like asparagus, Put in 25 plants per person. Also when growing they are heavy feeders, and require lots of fertilizers, Be sure to use a root stimulor for the first year, Lots of compost and rotted manure, and a 10 15 10 clemical, once a month, I know no one likes clemical fertilizers, but you can"t believe how much it improve my asparagus bed after I relented and used it. But I still do all the mulching etc. Lots of Luck Irene

-- Irene texas (, August 31, 2001.

Tom, I planted my asparagus bed about 10 years ago. I dug the trench 18 inches deep and covered the roots with 2" dirt. As the plant grew, I covered with another 2" of dirt until the trench was full. The deeper the roots are planted the better the plants. I agree to harvest lightly the first 2-3 years. Now that my bed is established, I start harvesting as soon as the new shoots come up. Mid April here in S.E. KS. I harvest until the shoots are about as thin as a pencil. About 2 months. To extend the harvest time, keep the spears cut. The root is trying to grow, mature and make seed. If it does that, then it is finished for the year. The plant does need to go to seed from the pencil thin spears. Leave them until late fall when you are cleaning up your garden for winter. We fertilize with manure and mulch with old hay. I couldn't tell you how many plants it will take for your family. How well do you like asparagus? How many ways do you plan to preserve it. I freeze mine and can pickled asparagus. I would plant all that you have room for.

-- Belle (, August 31, 2001.

On the other in NW Illinois my family has, for decades, just picked asparagus from along the roadsides on country roads (not much traffic) where it grows abundantly, and it tastes WONDERFUL - much better, to me, than "store-bought". Here's the funny part: No one planted this asparagus except birds, no one dug a trench that was 6" or 18" deep, no one fertilized it heavily, no one agonized over it, and it comes up year after year, more and more abundantly!! One of my daughter's favorite, heavy-yielding patches is right in the middle of a bunch of gravel that someone dumped on the side of the road - yet the asparagus comes up through that very easily! So where does that leave the "experts"??

-- Bonnie (, August 31, 2001.

Bonnie, we are out there measuring the size of the spears! LOL My son lived on an old farm and asparagus grew around the outhouse. The spears were as thick as cornstalks. Suppose the septic tank latterals will work as well?

-- Belle (, August 31, 2001.

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