Growing Asparagus

Growing asparagus is not a difficult task. This vegetable thrives if you know a few specific facts.

Asparagus is a delicious vegetable that is an excellent source of vitamin A. Like most vegetables it is low in calories.

Asparagus can be planted in your garden and will produce for about twenty years. Once planted, the asparagus will have to grow for at least two years before you can harvest any spears from the plants.

There are many varieties of asparagus that you can choose from such as the Argenteuil Early, which has green stalks and purple tips. This variety is easy to grow and is moderately rust resistant.

The Waltham Washington is one of the most popular varieties for the home gardener because it is easy to grow, rust and disease resistant and has an excellent flavor.

Other varieties include the Rutgers, Viking, and the Jersey Giant just to name a few. All these varieties are planted in the same manner.

You can purchase asparagus seed or crowns from your garden center. If you decide to start from seed, you are starting from scratch and will have to plan on growing your plants for three years before you can harvest. By buying crowns, you can eliminate a whole year of the growing time because a crown has already been growing for a year.

To start the plants from seed, you need to dig a small ditch or furrow that is about one inch deep. Your rows should be about one foot apart. Put the seeds into the ditch and cover them with loose soil. When the tiny plants appear, thin them out so they are about five inches apart. These plants will spend the first year in this spot. The following year they will need to be moved to a permanent spot in your garden, keeping in mind that asparagus will grow and produce for at least twenty years.

To start the plants from crowns, choose a permanent spot in the garden, keeping in mind that asparagus will grow and produce for at least twenty years. Dig a ditch that is about six inches deep. Apply some fertilizer and work it into the ditch throughly. The crowns can be placed into the ditch with the pointy side up and covered with only about two inches of soil. The soil should remain loose. Do not pack the soil down. The following spring you will add soil a little at a time as the asparagus grows until the soil is level with the garden bed. Asparagus loves the sun. All weeds and brush should be cut down to allow the asparagus to get as much sun as possible.

After the asparagus is three years old,(two years if you started with crowns), you can begin to harvest your asparagus. You can snap off any spears that are about eight inches long.

The main problem that gardeners seem to have when growing asparagus is caused by a fungus called Fusarium which causes a condition called Fusarium root rot. This is a serious problem for your asparagus plants. Prevention seems to be the only solution. I was advised by my garden center expert to soak my asparagus seeds in a gallon of water with three teaspoons of household bleach in it. Rinse the seeds throughly before planting.

One other important thing to remember is to water the asparagus every two or three days during very dry weather.

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