And lest we lose sight of why we're doing this... Locally grown and freshly picked asparagus from the farmer's market.And lest we lose sight of why we're doing this... Locally grown and freshly picked asparagus from the farmer's market.
This is definitely the thickest spear so farThis is definitely the thickest spear so far
A new spear, pushing all the way through the newly added layer of soilA new spear, pushing all the way through the newly added layer of soil
These would be a lot harder to lather with butterThese would be a lot harder to lather with butter
From spear to fernFrom spear to fern
One of our first asparagus spearsOne of our first asparagus spears
Bed #1 freshly planted with asparagus - and two Brussels sprouts plants that I hadn't planned on but decided to winter over by themselvesBed #1 freshly planted with asparagus - and two Brussels sprouts plants that I hadn't planned on but decided to winter over by themselves
The crown should be placed in the hole or trench with the roots spread out like this.The crown should be placed in the hole or trench with the roots spread out like this.
Separating the crowns and measuring out where they should be placedSeparating the crowns and measuring out where they should be placed
Ferny asparagusFerny asparagus
  • And lest we lose sight of why we're doing this... Locally grown and freshly picked asparagus from the farmer's market.
  • This is definitely the thickest spear so far
  • A new spear, pushing all the way through the newly added layer of soil
  • These would be a lot harder to lather with butter
  • From spear to fern
  • One of our first asparagus spears
  • Bed #1 freshly planted with asparagus - and two Brussels sprouts plants that I hadn't planned on but decided to winter over by themselves
  • The crown should be placed in the hole or trench with the roots spread out like this.
  • Separating the crowns and measuring out where they should be placed
  • Ferny asparagus

Aspara-GUS!

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!

2 Responses to “This is the age of asparagus”

  1. Dayna
    2 June 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    I am happy to have found your site! I’m in NWAR and was looking for someone nearby to get some tips from. My first post I read was this one. I planted asparagus for the first time this year. I just stuck it in the ground…didn’t know any better at the time but now I do! So, I have the little ferns. I’m so excited!!

  2. CoMo Homestead
    3 June 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Very nice!