This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Friday, April 10, 2009

planning for my asparagus shipment

I ordered 25 units of Jersey Supreme asparagus back in the depths of winter. They should be here any day now, so I checked on the planting instructions. Here is what Johnny's recommends:

CULTURE: Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that can thrive for 15 years or more. It likes a sunny or only partially shaded spot richly fertilized with compost or aged manure and limed to a pH of 7.0 or higher. Space plants or crowns 8" apart for slender spears to 14" apart for thick spears in a trench 6-8" below ground level. Space rows 3-5' apart. Keep free of weeds and irrigate. To fill trench, add soil 3 times during the first few weeks as the plants grow, ending with a slight mound to prevent puddles. Heavy hay, straw, or leaf mulch may be applied in mid-summer. The "ferns" that grow feed the roots; don't cut them back until they die naturally in the fall. Apply additional compost or aged manure each fall or early spring.

PLANTING CROWNS: Plant the crowns in furrows 6-8" deep and 3-5' apart. Recommended spacing within the row is 8" apart for slender spears and 14" apart for thick spears. Plant crown in early to mid-spring. Lay the roots flat in the trench and cover with 1-2" of soil. Fertilize with a high-phosphate starter fertilizer or abundant compost. As spears grow, gradually fill in the trench with soil.

HARVEST: The new bed will be ready for moderate harvest a year after planting, and full harvest every mid-late spring thereafter for many years. Harvest by bending spear until it snaps, or cut 1" below the soil.

So, at 10 inches apart, 25 crowns will require 250 inches = 21 ft of row. Rows should be 3 ft apart. I think I only have room for one 4 ft row (19 crowns) or two 3 ft rows (10 crowns). I'll measure the space tomorrow. My friend Elaine has some room for the extras.

I made a copy of the planting information from GROW for Elaine. It seems like a nice article.

asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)



Blogger Jim Lemire said...

we started our asparagus bed last year - we packed them in on the tight side because we didn't have much space to work with - not sure if that is the smartest idea, but so it goes some times. They're not up yet, so no way of know how they did over the winter. I check them daily even though I know that won't make them grow any quicker!

April 10, 2009 10:12 AM

Blogger kathy said...

I bet they'll be up soon!

April 10, 2009 9:05 PM

Anonymous Phyllis said...

We put in a bed last year as well, and they have just started to emerge. The plants are pretty with delicate fronds, kind of like fennel.

April 11, 2009 7:31 PM

Blogger jeff said...

I am in NE Illinois, 2 miles from Lake Michigan. I planted 1 yr old roots last spring (2008). They grew into real nice looking ferns. I cut the ferns down last fall as instructed. It's 4/22/09 now, and I haven't seen anything green poping up yet. Is it too early to panic? Thanks!!

April 22, 2009 3:17 PM

Anonymous Kelly said...

A commercial asparagus grower said you can space them as closely as one per square foot and my square foot gardening book mentioned doing either 1 or 4 per square foot. Four seems a bit much. Oh, and it is ok if their roots overlap when you plant them.

April 24, 2009 2:04 PM


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