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I am only now recovering; it has been four days since Andy and I planted out 100 asparagus crowns.
Planting asparagus is an investment on all accounts – time, labor, money, patience – and then the big payoff, which is fresh asparagus for 2 months each spring right from your own garden.
This is the second time I have a participated in an asparagus-planting extravaganza (I told Andy when we were finished that two times in a lifetime is enough for me!).
I planted asparagus with my father nearly 30 years ago, and we are still enjoying the bounty from that original planting so, you see, the investment is worth it all around.
Perhaps you are not interested in the volume of work and yield those 100 crowns offers, so maybe 25 planted in a permanent spot in the garden will suffice.
Asparagus is a perennial, so be certain about where you plant and be serious about preparing the planting bed. This is the hardest part, but once it is done, it is done!
Asparagus will continue to produce for 30 years or more if it is properly maintained. Our original planting is proof of that.
Here’s what to do:
At the fern stage the plant can maximize photosynthesis and pack in the energy to develop a strong root system and therefore higher yields next year. Harvest a little next year and then you should be ready to really enjoy by the third year after planting
Long-term maintenance includes weeding (which, as a perennial crop, does become a problem after years in the same place, try using corn gluten as a pre-emergent); also don’t cut asparagus tops (the ferny growth) back until it has naturally died back. The plants need to store energy throughout the summer and fall through their foliage for a good crop the following spring.
In fact, we have been burning our dried fern debris in late winter; this also accomplishes some pest control by burning any eggs of the asparagus beetle that might remain form the previous season.
Only burn if you are safe to do so in proximity to others and to buildings, though!
You can fertilize during active fern growth after the harvest season with composted manure or a balanced granular. (I like the mixes that are organic like Espoma’s product line; or make your own mixing cottonseed meal, bone meal and kelp.)