I ordered my asparagus crowns last fall. They often are sold out in the spring by the time you remember to order them (I speak from experience), so I wanted to be sure I got my order in on time.
I researched the different varieties, males and females vs. all male plants, their disease tolerances and decided on Jersey Supreme. This is an all-male variety, which means it doesn’t set seed (which often results in asparagus competing with asparagus). All the Jersey varieties are well-regarded.
The crowns arrived in March, and their arrival meant that I had to figure out what to do with them. I found this video to be really helpful in showing how to plant the crowns properly.
In a traditional in-ground garden, you dig a 12″ trench, lay the crowns down in the trench with the center of the crown pointing up, and cover them with a few inches of soil. After they start to grow you cover them with the remaining soil so the crowns are 12″ deep.
I followed this basic method, except that in the case of my raised bed gardens, digging a 12″ trench is tough because the soil is so loose. I was planting them in bed #1, which I installed in 2009, and the soil has since decomposed and sunk down several inches from where it started. I decided to dig down about 6″, plant them there, and then when the asparagus sprouted I filled the bed back up to the top with more soil mix. It brought about the same result, but meant I didn’t have to dig a trench.
Asparagus is a reliable perennial and will provide you with 15-20 years of good eating. To get the plants started well, though, you don’t harvest the asparagus at all the first year. (Not that you would really want to anyway, because they’re very small.) In the second year you can harvest lightly, and in the third year you begin harvesting to your heart’s content.
It was really amazing to see the first spears of asparagus pushing through the soil. And after that amazement started to wear off, it was amazing to see the spears turning into little ferny trees.
I’m looking forward to harvesting our first spears next year!