Exciting flavors. Asparagus can be stored up to 10 days if held between 32–36° F at 90–98% relative humidity. In spring, dig 6- to 8-inch deep rows and plant asparagus 12 to 18 inches apart. Planting asparagus in a raised bed or in the backyard vegetable garden will pay dividends for years and years to come. Fennel is a beautiful herb to have in the garden. A perennial asparagus bed requires some labor for initial planting, but it can provide a low-maintenance supply of the perennial vegetables for twenty years or more. Plant healthy, certified 1-year-old crowns; never use 2- or 3-year-old crowns. At first picking, the 1 yr old crowns produced almost twice as much as the 2 yr old crowns. Select and obtain high quality se… Weed management must be planned prior to planting the crop. As one of the few perennial vegetables, asparagus must grow in a permanent location. Find out more, or download it now for iPhone or Android. This includes asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) a perennial vegetable that grows in U.S Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 though 8. Then apply fertilizer, ridge the rows, and prepare the soil as directed for year two. Cantaluppi, C. J., and Precheur, R. (1993). Rust can be partially controlled using fungicides. Spears grow 3–5 inches per day when temperatures are 80–85° F. Harvest all spears that are more than 9 inches above the soil level by cutting just below the soil surface with an asparagus knife. How to Replant Asparagus. A well-established, well-cared for asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) bed is the garden's gift that keeps on giving. Adequate soil moisture is important during the first growing season. A 15-inch spacing on 66-inch centers gives 6,336 crowns/A. Tetrault, R., McNab, A.A., Ferretti, P.A., and Orzolek, M.D., (1986) Asparagus Production for Small-Scale Growers and Gardeners, U/Ed/ 86–601. Mulch for the winter, or grow a cool-season cover crop that can be turned under before planting in spring. Go ahead and pick all the spears each time you harvest. Asparagus grows best under maximum photosynthesis conditions: a long growing season and sunny days in full sunlight. The key to growing asparagus is to have healthy, vigorous plants that produce a lot of spears. Asparagus plants can remain productive for up to 20 years, so it's worthwhile spending time on preparing the bed to give them a flying start in life. For spring planting, prepare your garden bed in the fall by improving the soil with compost or other rich organic matter, then cover the bed with mulch for the winter. Bent spears are caused by insects feeding or damage from cutting adjacent stalks. Perennial asparagus can produce a spring or early summer crop of edible spears for 15 years or more. In autumn, prepare the soil by mixing in several inches of organic matter (think compost or aged leaves) or compost-enriched Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® All Purpose In-Ground Soil with the native soil in each row. Apply the amount of lime (calcitic or dolomitic) recommended by a soil test to bring soil pH to 6.7–6.8. Install overhead or drip irrigation, and maintain favorable soil moisture conditions with irrigation as needed. Asparagus plants have pretty ferny foliage, and as such are equally at home in the herbaceous border as they are in the vegetable patch. When inspiration grows all around you, you can’t help but create masterpieces. Base the duration of harvest on the vigor of the brush in the fall of the previous growing season. (See more on that below.) These symptoms are much more severe when the plants are under stress due to excessively long harvests, poor drainage, competition from weeds, and damage from insects and foliage diseases. Maintain good soil moisture through early September with irrigation (approximately 2 inches of water every 10–14 days) as needed. The most serious disease of asparagus is Fusarium root and crown rot, a soil-borne disease. How much your family enjoys asparagus determines how many plants you will need. nitrogen/A plus phosphorus, potassium and boron as recommended based on the soil test from the season prior to planting. Wait until your second or third season to harvest. If spears are washed, the wash water should contain an EPA-registered sanitizer. (1985). Propagation. Apply 20 pounds of 10-20-10 fertilizer or mature compost per 1,000 square feet of soil. New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Asparagus, one of the most reliable of the perennial vegetables, produces an early harvest of tender spears in the spring. If you want to put some aside to enjoy in the months to come, blanch them in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, douse in cold water, wrap, and freeze. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Weeds may become a problem since the bed isn't tilled yearly. B., Boydston, R., Cone, W., Johnson, D., Ley, T. W., Mink, G., Parker, R., Stevens, R., Sorensen, E. and Van Denburgh, R. (1993). They will remain in the same place in your garden for many years—15, 20, sometimes 30. Harvest all spears for 2–3 weeks from first spear emergence during the third growing season, 4–6 weeks during the fourth growing season, and 6 weeks during the fifth and subsequent seasons. Smooth the ridge with a 5' wide field cultivation tool set at a height to avoid damaging the underlying crowns or emerging spears. Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules. The common asparagus beetle (Figure 1) is a serious pest every year. Set seedlings into the lowest part of the depression, planting about 2 inches deeper than they were originally growing. They overwinter in debris in and around the field. When you do buy plants, make sure they’re Bonnie Plants® asparagus. After the ferns turn brown (late October or November), use a ridging disc to form a 2–3-inch ridge over the top of the asparagus row. Many seasoned gardeners use a knife to cut below the soil line, but it is important to avoid cutting into emerging spears nearby. Each spring, this perennial produces abundant spears ready for harvest. Plant a fall wheat cover crop, and plow it under in the spring as soon as soil conditions are favorable. The spears that we enjoy as a vegetable are the new shoots that emerge in spring. It is important to recognize and understand your target customers and base the size of the asparagus acreage on market potential. An understanding of the types of weeds to control and a plan of action for each weed type is recommended to ensure effective control and high yields of a high-quality asparagus. Feed your plants with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules regularly during the growing season, following the directions on the label. Asparagus withstands shipping well when cooled and boxed correctly. Between-row cultivation can be conducted during the growing season, if care is taken to avoid compaction damage to plants in the production rows. Know your asparagus pests. Over-harvesting depletes the crown of photosynthetic energy reserves, reduces foliar vigor, and decreases spear yields in subsequent years. Planting more than just asparagus? Job Opportunities | Webmaster. Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) is considered a tasty and highly nutritious vegetable plant that lives up to 20 years. This will provide all the nutrition your new asparagus plants need to start growing. Quick Guide to Growing Asparagus. Amend your soil the fall before planting asparagus crowns to boost potassium and phosphorus. Read How to Lay Out a Vegetable Garden for tips on where to put everything. Asparagus is unusual because, unlike many other plants in a home vegetable garden, it is a perennial that can grow and produce spears for up to 20 years. A. When you see a Bonnie Harvest Select plant, you should know that it has success grown right into it-helping you get a head-turning harvest and mouth-dazzling taste. Judging from illustrations in old herbals, the asparagus of the past was rather gawkish, tall and narrow, very similar in appearance to wild asparagus. Asparagus should be planted in sandy loam or loam soils with very good surface and internal drainage. When weeds first appear, cultivate to destroy weeds, and till soil in the furrow, being careful to avoid covering asparagus foliage. Take time to make a cozy bed. Apply the pre-emergence herbicides at half the full season rate. Fusarium infects the root system, kills the feeder roots, and causes collapse of the storage roots and rot of the crown. Ext Bull Mich State Univ Coop Ext Serv. After the first growing season, asparagus plants do not require frequent irrigation because of the deep and extensive root system. Apply fungicides in late July and again in mid-August and early September to control foliage diseases. Asparagus loses quality rapidly after harvest. These periods of dormancy allow asparagus stalks to grow more robustly in the spring than they do in warmer regions with milder winters. Unmarketable, small, and defective spears are cut and left in the field. The damaged stalk grows normally on the side away from the wound, causing the spear to bend. Several diseases impact asparagus, and the purchasing or production of certified crowns is a priority. Apply fungicides in late July and again in mid-August and early September to control foliar diseases. Asparagus is an excellent crop to offer to roadside stand and farmer's market customers because it is one of the early season highlights in New Jersey. 1. To avoid this happening, plan to harvest at least every other day. If crowns vary in size, sort small and large crowns, and plant like-size crowns in blocks. Just drop them into a bucket of soapy water. What Time of Year Is Asparagus Planted?. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 1. Organic production of asparagus is challenging due to increased time commitment and high labor costs associated with weed control and the lack of effective organic pest controls. The asparagus beetle is the most damaging insect to asparagus. Insufficient soil moisture in periods of dry weather may result in subsequent reductions in yield. It is the same with asparagus. All rights reserved. Asparagus can be grown in most parts of the country but does especially well in cooler regions with longer, colder winters. Keeping the bed weed-free is important to avoid competition with your asparagus plants. First Growing Season. As plants grow taller, rake a little of the soil on the edge of the row into the depression where plants are growing. These are 1-year-old clumps of roots with dormant buds that can be planted directly in the garden. From page 19---three German experts advocate 4'-5' between rows and 3 1/2 between plants. Apply fungicides in late July and again in mid-August and early September to control foliar diseases, including asparagus rust, purple spot, and cercospora leaf blight. In the fall, the rust-colored areas produce black, overwintering spores that can infect the plant the following year. Several species of aphids, mites, and thrips are often a serious problem, especially on smaller or younger plants. Crowns should be kept cool (under 40° F) to prevent dehydration and bud growth during storage. From page 18-They planted 1,2 and 3 yr old crowns, side by side. Weed management within rows is imperative and can include hand-weeding, mulching, or flame weeding. Building a box for your asparagus plants will keep them organized and tidy. Usually, you can control them with hand picking. The idea is to wait at least 2 seasons and probably 3 before harvesting. Acceptable varieties for the Mid-Atlantic U.S. include. The duration of your harvest will depend on the vigor of your plants. Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a perennial crop that can thrive for 15 years or more when well-cared for. The asparagus rust fungus causes premature yellowing and death of the foliage. The other day I saw 3 year old asparagus crowns. However, established plants can produce much longer, as much as 8 weeks. Sandsted, R. F., Wilcox, D. A., Zitter, T. A., & Muka, A. Washington State University Extension Bulletin, 997. Plant asparagus in spring or fall in a sunny spot with nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. After harvest, apply 50 lb. Apply a glyphosate herbicide to control perennial weeds that have emerged. Till soil, and fill in furrows so that furrows are level with beds by mid-September. encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues Asparagus is a perennial, so you want to plant it where it can stay put. Plant asparagus in spring or fall in a sunny spot with nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Some growers snap the spears just above the soil level. Asparagus is usually planted in the form of bare-root crowns. After about 4 weeks, side dress with 25–50 lb. Planting new vigorous asparagus varieties that are adaptable to local conditions and reducing plant stress will help minimize the damage from Fusarium root and crown rot. Asparagus rust is another common fungal disease. The best time to check for asparagus beetles is in the afternoon when they are most active. Early in the season, while asparagus shoot buds are still dormant (late February or early March), mow off the brush from the first growing season with a rotary mower. Asparagus plants are perennial bushes that can live up to 15 or 20 years, with appropriate care. Then all you need to do is be patient. Jersey Giant Male Asparagus Root,Large Crowns,2 Year Old, (Free UK Postage) (5-Crowns) By bjxhgarden 9.6 View Product ... Asparagus Fern Plant By carbeth-plants 7.0 View Product 7.0 Remember, if the spear has begun opening and developing foliage, it will be too tough to eat. Plant a soybean cover crop and then incorporate it into the soil when it is mature and green. Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, so it is grown in much of the country. Then it is time to stop and let them grow, gaining strength for next spring. A 12-inch spacing on 60-inch row centers results in 8,712 crowns/A. Reduce the duration of harvest if brush vigor was low in the fall of the previous growing season. These fibers form as a result of the injury of cutting. Asparagus also forms roots near the soil surface and doesn't tolerate root damage, which makes cultivating and other weed control practices difficult. with Rutgers websites to: accessibility@rutgers.edu or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier or Provide Feedback Form. This vegetable sinks roots up to 10 feet deep and produces delicious stems from 15 to 30 years. Enjoy dabbling in the diversity of deliciousness you’ll find in our Foodie Fresh collection. In spring, after danger of frost has passed, dig a depression 6 to 8 inches deep running the length of the row, mounding the improved soil on each side for later use. Asparagus beetles can be controlled by insecticides. Careful preparation makes the journey easier. Ultra-Niche Crops are defined as exceptionally high-value crops that can provide a significant source of income to the farmer while using minimal land area. Asparagus plants are either male or female. Select and obtain high quality seeds or crowns of a male hybrid variety that has been tested and performs well in the Mid-Atlantic area. You can buy asparagus seed, but it is more usual to cultivate from one-year-old asparagus crowns. Shallow cultivation should be used to control winter annual weeds in the spring. Maintain temperature at 35–40° F with high humidity during transit and display prior to sale. High quality spears have tight bracts at the tip. It may be hard to resist tasting the first spears to emerge, but go easy on the plants until they mature. Allow space between the top of the spears and the box cover. These crowns, or roots, were grown from seed by nurseries and commercial growers. A good start is 10 plants for each person. The USDA has established size and quality standards for asparagus. Asparagus plants lose vigor, become more susceptible to root rot, and ultimately die in poorly drained areas or following prolonged high rainfall. Weekly applications of irrigation sufficient to wet the soil 8 inches deep should be adequate. Medium to high fertility produces the highest yield and quality asparagus. Asparagus is most productive when grown on deep, well drained sandy loam soils. In fact, one of the best ways to avoid asparagus rust, a fungal disease that reduces yields, is to plant rust-resistant varieties. Crowns should be kept cool (under 40° F) to prevent dehydration and bud growth during storage. Planting at the right depth is important. An asparagus plant can last 15 years. Feed in spring with complete fertilizer. A quick guide to asparagus. A well-drained bed will have minimal disease problems. Apply potassium and other recommended amendments according to the soil test. Asparagus plants (Asparagus officinalis) are unusual because they're dioecious, which means some plants are male while others are female. By planting an asparagus crown, or 1-year-old plant, instead of growing the plant from seed, you'll be able to harvest a year earlier. Ornamental asparagus will survive light frosts but may be killed to ground by severe cold. They damage plants through feeding, sucking plant juices, and causing the green needles and stems of the young plant to turn dull gray-green, yellow, and die. Feathery and fern-like, it adds…, The free gardening app you've been waiting for. Crowns from 2-year-old asparagus plants can be harvested lightly the year after you plant them, but these larger roots are also more susceptible to transplant shock than 1-year crowns. Dean, B. Avoid inter-planting small and large crowns because the large crowns will tend to out-compete small crowns and may prevent the long-term survival of the small crowns, leaving gaps in the stands. Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, is an equal opportunity program provider and employer. The fungal pathogen appears on the surface of stems and branches as small rust-colored elliptical spots containing spores that facilitate the spread of the disease. They were expensive, but it was almost closing time and I was excited about the idea of being able to harvest asparagus the same year. Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Growing Your Own Asparagus. Copyright © 2021 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Deep rip or sub soil the field to eliminate compaction and break up any hard pan. Get gardening info on the go with our free app, HOMEGROWN with Bonnie Plants. Bold colors. These plants can grow up to 5 feet in height and have a root system that will go down at least 6 feet. Washed, trimmed, sized, and bunched asparagus spears should be placed at 35° F and cooled as quickly as possible following harvest. The soil pH should be maintained between 6.5 and 6.8. Choose a sunny, well-drained site on the edge of your garden where it will not be disturbed by the activity of planting and re-planting other areas. If your plants are young, the fresh asparagus season may last a couple of weeks. Putnam, A. R., Stuckey, R., Lacy, M. L., Cress, D. C., Bird, G. W., & Dover, M. J. Apply super phosphate in the furrows based on soil test results. That’s why spears from the grocery store or from the refrigerator should always be trimmed to remove any tough tissue before cooking. Because the soil is so rich, invaders can take hold quickly. And it’s blessed with the best upbringing a young plant can have: Miracle-Gro Head Start. Asparagus helps to sell and compliments other early crops such as strawberries and bedding plants. This is a good time to control weeds because the asparagus are dormant. Be sure to check with your buyer or customers to determine their preferences. Make a 7-inch deep furrow with a middle buster or specially-designed furrow shaper in early April. If it is a family favorite or you plan to freeze some for later, you will need more. I asked the guy if they could be harvested this year, and he said yes. Find your favorite — try our interactive tomato chooser! Asparagus takes a few seasons to mature but will reap a harvest for 15 to 30 years, so choose a planting location that will go undisturbed for a long time. The spears will continue to grow in the box and if head space is not provided, the spears will curve. Mulch to prevent weeds. With the right care, an asparagus bed can produce for 10 to 20 years. Adult beetles are ¼ inch long with shiny black wings that have red margins and three yellow spots on each wing. Observe plants for insects during the growing season, apply recommended controls, and maintain good moisture through early September with irrigation as needed. An alternative to purchasing commercial asparagus crowns is to grow your own crowns from seed. An alternative to purchasing commercial asparagus crowns is to grow your own crowns from seed. Discard those that have grown too large. Great asparagus crops don’t just happen—they’re the result of planning. Asparagus production, management and marketing, Ohio State University Extension Bulletin 826 (USA). Sanitation of the crop in the fall by removing plant debris from the field (and mechanical tillage in the spring) may be helpful in reducing overwintering populations of the pest. Warnings. of nitrogen/A. Asparagus attributes such as spear length, diameter, tip quality, and spear color must also be taken into consideration. Cook cut spears immediately or refrigerate in plastic to raise the humidity and prevent tough fibers from forming at the base of the spear. Test your soil, and apply lime if need be to adjust soil pH to 6.7–6.8. Cut back the 4 to 6-foot tall foliage, or the ferns as they are called, after frost has turned them brown. Fusarium can be identified by the reddish-brown color of the feeder roots, reddish-brown spots and streaks on the storage roots, large reddish lesions on the base of the spears and stalks at or below the soil line, and wilting and die-back of maturing shoots. In addition to feeding your plants, this organic fertilizer feeds the beneficial microbes in the soil that help those plants take up more nutrition. Annual weeds should be controlled with a combination of cultural and mechanical methods. Do You Put Salt on Asparagus Plants?. Individuals with disabilities are Asparagus should be packed vertically into ventilated shipping containers that can withstand moisture and prevent the spears from damage. Plants can be raised from seed but it’s best to avoid harvesting the spears until plants are three years old, to help them become established. (Asparagus can also be planted in the fall. However, asparagus requires a high initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs and offers no net income until the third or fourth growing season. Thorough watering (2 inches of water) slowly applied every two weeks during dry weather is usually sufficient. The most important part of growing asparagus is to realize that it will take a couple of seasons before you taste the first bite of homegrown asparagus. Apply 50–75 lb. You can pick mature asparagus once they reach 8 inches tall. Plants need to be allowed to mature before you can harvest. Most markets prefer the standard 9-inch long, all-green spear. (1976). This will help excess water drain away from the crown during the winter. This is nothing like a tomato or a pepper plant. For more on that, check out our How to Plant a Fall Garden article.). Planting from seed delays harvest for an additional year, so asparagus is often planted from 1-year-old crowns, producing a small crop in three years and a heavier yield for up to 30 years. The old rule of thumb is to harvest until the diameter of the spear decreases to the size of a pencil. Plant vigor declines, spear size and yield decreases, and weaker plants may die. Severe rust infestations can destroy much of the foliage and reduce the yield of the next year's crop. During the growing season, feed regularly with a continuous-release plant food. Black and red asparagus beetles can be a challenge, damaging the foliage and weakening the roots. Asparagus can be grown from seed, but most home gardeners plant 1-year-old crowns. Soon the bed will be level. Take a soil sample and obtain a complete analysis including pH, major, secondary, and minor nutrients. Spears contaminated with beetle eggs may be unmarketable. How well you prepare the bed determines the vigor of your asparagus patch for years to come. Choose its spot in the garden carefully. Frost injury can be reduced by ridging soil onto raised beds when preparing the field in the spring, selecting a variety that emerges late, or selecting a site that has heavier soils that warm more slowly, thus delaying spear emergence beyond the threat of frost. There are several OMRI approved pesticides available, and natural predators support asparagus insect control. Planting asparagus is like preparing for a trip. Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Ithaca, NY. As a result, shoots and ferns wilt, turn yellow, and die. New varieties. Photo credits: Top row l - r: Tom Orton (asparagus), Tom Orton (asparagus field), Fred McGrady (asparagus harvest); Rick VanVranken (Figure 1). Therefore, it is essential to carefully plan your marketing, production, and harvesting goals to establish and sustain a financially successful long-term asparagus operation on a small acreage farm. Place crowns in the furrows with the apical buds oriented upward, 12 to 15 inches apart in the row. After frost, plants often come back from roots. Asparagus grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. The male plants are more productive and all male F1 hybrids are available with their … As asparagus grows taller, backfill the rows with soil until it is eventually level with the garden bed. Plant multiple asparagus fern divisions in the same planter to give the plants a fuller, more established look. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Office of Continuing Professional Education, 2019 Mid-Atlantic Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations, Report Accessibility Barrier or Provide Feedback Form, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Stephen Garrison, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Jennifer Matthews, Senior Program Coordinator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Cumberland County, Meredith Melendez, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, Mercer County, Peter Nitzsche, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, Morris County, 5-foot field cultivator or 4-foot rototiller. Asparagus takes a few seasons to mature but will reap a harvest for 15 to 30 years, so choose a planting location that will go undisturbed for a long time. Once your rows are level with the soil line, lay down a layer of mulch to retain soil moisture and prevent weeds. Apply the recommended pre-emergence herbicide at the full season rate. Also, the knife can spread any disease from one plant to the next. Start looking for these pests in early May or just after asparagus plants emerge and continue for the rest of the growing season. The common asparagus beetle and the spotted asparagus beetle feed on asparagus spears and cause browning and scarring. When soil moisture is favorable and before spears begin to emerge (usually mid-March) use ridging discs to form a 4 to 6-inch ridge of soil over the asparagus row. Asparagus information bulletin. How to Cultivate an Asparagus Bed. So much to grow, so little time. Only disease-free seeds or crowns should be used. Spears for commercial markets are usually trimmed at the cut or butt end; sized by diameter into small, medium, large, and jumbo categories; and bundled into 1 or 1.5 pound bunches for retail sale. Thanks to their fleshy roots, plants can go for some time without water, but they grow better when watered regularly. of nitrogen/A from calcium nitrate over the furrow. In fact, a productive asparagus bed is a good reason to renovate your house, rather than move! Asparagus may be marketed successfully through roadside markets, pick-your-own, restaurants, CSA programs, or farmer's markets. Plant healthy, certified 1-year-old crowns; never use 2- or 3-year-old crowns.