Asparagus is expensive…
You like it ?
So let it grow!
Asparagus is a perennial that adapts to all soils, but is afraid of too high humidity.
A humus-rich soil is beneficial for this…
A well-maintained asparagus garden will yield 10-12 years.
Asparagus seedlings are tricky.
In general, it is preferable to purchase claws (see your favorite nursery or garden center), which also saves a year (the harvest only starts in the third year).
Propagate asparagus from seed
Sowing is aimed at obtaining claws that are placed the year after sowing.
Sow at the nursery in March-April in rows 10 cm apart.
Thin out to 10 cm on the line shortly after emergence.
Keep the soil weed free.
Cut the stems in the fall.
The next spring, dig up the claws to set them in place.
Plant asparagus claws
At the end of winter, dig trenches 1 meter away and 40 cm wide and 20 cm deep.
Bring well-matured compost and/or commercial organic fertilizers rich in phosphorus and potassium to the bottom of the trench and mix with the soil.
Make small mounds 5 cm high and 60 cm apart at the bottom of the trench.
Plant a small stake on each mound to clearly mark the location.
In March-April, spread the roots of the claws (purchased or from your own seedlings) on either side of the mounds.
Cover with the reserved soil (if possible enriched with compost).
Your asparagus garden will now be there for many years to come.
Come on, I’ll show you all this in a short video (that’s right, my asparagus garden is over 10 years old, and since I was running out, I decided to plant a new one):
Fertilizing an asparagus garden
In addition to the planting additives (indicated above), every year in early spring, bring about 1 wheelbarrow of mature compost (on the surface) for 10 m2 of crops.
If necessary, supplement with organic fertilizers rich in phosphorus and potassium.
Maintenance of asparagus cultivation
The first 2 years:
- Regular weeding or mulching
- Tie shoots to stakes
- Make catch crops: radishes, lettuce, garlic, carrots or even lamb’s lettuce are crops that are perfect for a young asparagus garden.
From the third year:
- In March, in mild weather, the lines in 2 or 3 times about 40-50 cm high (white asparagus. If you don’t store, you will harvest green asparagus*)
- After the harvest, beat the mound with a hook and level the ground.
- In the fall, cut the yellowed shoots at ground level; spread mature compost (1 wheelbarrow per 10 m2) and organic fertilizers rich in potassium and phosphorus.
asparagus leaf beetle
The asparagus leaf beetle is a 7 mm long beetle with black elytra (forewings) with white dots.
This small insect is almost systematically present on asparagus (at least in France…) and can be seen on the leaves.
It devours the leaves, weakening the plant.
Aside from pyrethrum-based insecticides (I don’t recommend them because they don’t discriminate between fauna), the only effective means of control is manual picking: in the spring, when the insects are visible, shake the stems lightly to release them insects fall into a basket (or other container).
If you see the stems drying out, as well as the presence of maggots in the galleries, it is definitely the asparagus fly, a diptera insect that can have serious consequences for the crop: the plants stop growing and the stems (edible parts of the asparagus) are distorted.
Cut and burn the dried tops at the end of the season.
This disease is caused by a fungus (Rhizoctonia violacea) and can kill the plant.
If the disease is present, the spears are rare and stunted and the roots die quickly.
Unfortunately, there is no effective way of biological control. It is recommended to immerse the claws in a solution of bleach (50 ml/litre of water) for 20 minutes before planting…
It’s personally out of the question (no need to put bleach in my soil).
It’s best to avoid planting claws that seem unhealthy to you…
Do not harvest the first 2 years of cultivation, but let the shoots grow out (if you harvest you will exhaust your asparagus garden before it has had time to establish itself well).
You can de first harvests from the third year.
The harvest starts in April.
For this third year, limit the harvest time to 2 to 3 weeks so as not to exhaust the asparagus bed. You will eventually harvest 2 or 3 stalks (asparagus) on a claw.
In subsequent years you can harvest for longer (up to 8 weeks).
Over a season you will harvest an average of 7 or 8 stems per claw.
It is considered time to stop harvesting when the diameter of the asparagus does not exceed a pencil.
Allow at least one stem to develop on each plant at the end of the harvest.
Harvesting green asparagus
Green asparagus are harvested when the stem is at least 10 cm high (above the ground).
It is the above-ground part that will be harvested and consumed.
Detach the spear from the claw by simply turning it at the base (at ground level).
You can also use an asparagus gouge, like the one below, but only push the tool 1 or 2 cm down.
Harvesting white asparagus
The white asparagus are harvested as soon as the turion appears (it will change color if you wait a while).
The largest part of the asparagus to be consumed will therefore be underground (in the mound to be precise).
To do this, use an asparagus gouge, a hand tool that allows you to cut through any spear at the base without undoing the mound.
Push the tool all the way down, into the soil, along the asparagus, then cut it by tilting it.
I also use the gouge to harvest a few scattered carrots without running the risk of breaking them (you have to push the gouge along the root, deeper than the root, then raise it up by tilting the tool up).