Planting and growing Asparagus

In the first of this series on growing perennial vegetables  I show you how to plant Asparagus and the idiosyncratic way this needs to be carried out to allow the Asparagus to flourish for 25 years.I have chosen to plant Purple Pacific as I think they have superior flavor and are very tender to eat.The taste of home grown Asparagus is well worth the effort involved as it is far superior to most you can buy.

I would recommend watching the update film as it shows you what your emerging Asparagus plants will look like

Asparagus Updates


Asparagus Autumn Update

Video Transcript

Welcome to Learn How to Garden.Com

This is the first of our perennial vegetables nowhere with planting perennials because although they take more time initially they will crop for years and years and they take less of our time up once planted, which is why my mom is so keen on having them in her 10 minute garden and I suppose the best known of all of the perennial vegetables that most of us come into contact with it asparagus so today was talking about asparagus crowns why should plant them and how to get them in the ground.

At one time most of the asparagus that we could get was grown in England but mostly of the asparagus that you and I now see comes from Peru and I think compared to what I was used as a kid its tasteless, it’s a bit stringy and I think that growing asparagus is one of those things is really worth the time and effort now you’ll need to look at how to prepare a perennial bed and that’s on a previous video and I have put a link below this one.

You will notice that the plant to me right is sea kale which is covered in a different film.

When you come to buy asparagus it will arrive in the autumn. Today is the 25th November it’s actually the day after one of the worst storms we have had in years where I live and what I find fascinating is that the ground is sodden but this bed, prepared properly, is friable and is workable and this is why deep beds/no dig beds or perennial beds work brilliantly and there is lots of choice for Asparagus and this one is a purple asparagus which is slightly tender and less stringy and is worth considering as you do not see it in the shops and if you steam it to cook it, it will keep its colour and when they come they have a growing tip and these long quite fragile roots, a bit like some Portuguese Man of War or one of those jellyfish we are all used to seeing on David Attenborough.

It is these roots that are quite important when we come to planting and again because the Asparagus could be in this bed for a quarter of a century, 25 years, you don’t want to cram it in, you want at least 6 inches between plants and about 18 inches across the bed so we are going to have two rows of five.

The first year we are not going to pick anything at all and when asparagus spears grow if you leave them they turn into light fluffy fern, Asparagus Fern, and for the first year all we are trying to do is get strong root systems established to give us more asparagus long-term.

The first thing you need to do is work out how many you are going to get in your bed coming. I get 10 in my bed and I take out a trench across the bed and put that soil at the side.

The trench is about 6 to 8 inches deep and what we are going to do is along the bottom of this trench you are going to form a mound. The reason for this is that on the top of the mound we are going to plant our asparagus.

The roots lying either side.

You take an asparagus crown, separate the roots

If you’re buying asparagus go to a specialist nursery. You will see in the film the roots are very very thick but very brittle, nice growing tip. A lot of the ones I see in packets are dried out and once they are that dry the will not thrive.

Very gently lie the asparagus on the top of the ridge and continue to place all of your plants all of the way along with about 6 inches to 8 inches between the plants. Then you start to do is gently infill infill soil. My bed has about 30% grit and lots of compost . You want to make sure your plants are well fed as they are going to be in the bed a long long time.

Once we have got our asparagus sitting on top of the mound we gently start to backfill.   What we are also going to do is to add more compost and grit and we are going to cover these by 3 to 4 inches so that it is raised up above the bed and we now have our 10 plants in.

We cover the asparagus with 4 inches of the soil in the bed which is a mixture of grit and really well rotted compost, leafmould and soil. It is about 6 inches to the top of the bed.

For the first year what we are going to do is put a tiny amount of calcified seaweed on top of the bed. Asparagus doesn’t like it too acidic and come February we are going to apply Fish Blood and Bone, again an organic fertilizer on.

For the first year we are growing purely for the roots and to help it to get established. In the second year you can probably take one or a maximum of two meals but it will be worth waiting for! The majority of the time is to get those roots going, and from the third year you can pick really from some of the end of April till the beginning of June and I think asparagus is one of those things that when its here you want a glut of it and eat it with Hollandaise Sauce.

I have used grit to make the plants so you know where the heads of your asparagus are because it’s very shallow rooted. I would recommend hand weeding the bed because of the delicate roots.

Asparagus is well worth preparing a bed for and is effortless gardening really for a superb result in a year or two that you will enjoy for a great many years.



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