Asparagus is a perennial crop that when planted, and maintained properly, can give decades of production. Planting asparagus is not a quick and easy task. It takes years to establish and many hours in the field watching over the tender plants.
Asparagus isn't grown like normal seed or plant put into the ground. They grow from crowns and since they are a perennial crop, they generate growth year after year.
This is how we build our beds...
1. Grow the roots by seed: We decided to grow the roots ourselves instead of purchasing one year old roots already grown. It’s extra work and a lot of care, but it saves money. The only down side is that it adds an extra year to full production time.
2. Digging roots in the spring: If you remember, a few weeks ago, I posted to Instagram, the crew and I digging asparagus roots from a field to be planted. This was done by undercutting under the root system and pulling them up with a rake. It’s was a long, but fun process!
3. Next-up is prepping the field for planting. We did our normal subsoiling, plowing, and bed shaping of the field. The next step is a little out of the ordinary. We trenched rows for the asparagus crowns. It’s very important that asparagus is planted about 8 to 12” deep in the soil. This is accomplished by using a trencher, to dig deep furrows into the soil so we can lay roots into.
4. Planting the crowns: We space them about a foot or so apart, in the trenches, with the crowns facing up.
5. After we have the roots set in the ground they must be covered with about 1 to 2” of top soil. It is very important that you do not cover the roots with all the soil that was trenched-out for it will smother their growth. We mustered-up a new system with the cultivators and tractor to make the job a bit easier and more efficient.
6. Next we will fertilize and monitor pH, asparagus requires a pH of about 6.8 to 7.0.
7. After we receive a development of new asparagus ferns we have to slowly keep filling in the trenches as they grow until we are back up at an even ground level. This also helps with weed control as well.
From this point, the process takes a good 4 years to see full production.
The next time you are enjoying this favorite springtime crop you now know how much TLC goes into the creation of this plant. Please spread the word and thanks for listening!
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