Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
Germination Soil Temp:
Days to Germinate:
Date to sow Indoors:
Date to sow Outdoors:
6.0 - 6.7, best at 6.5
High N, Moderate P and K
Perennial, no rotation
Perennial vegetable that takes time and care to establish. Once the plant is mature enough to produce, asparagus provides a perpetual harvest. Asparagus is native to Europe and Asia. It has fern-like leaves and a brilliant yellow fall color.
Does well in deep, fertile, and well-drained soils. Avoid very light, sandy soils and porous subsoils.
Apply 10 pounds per 100-foot row of complete fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 8-8-8, or composted manure in the first year. Apply 1/2 of the fertilizer or use compost before planting and the other half in June.
Plow cover crop 1 month before planting and plant before March 15. Once planted, asparagus seeds will grow into crowns. Crowns can be transplanted after 1 year. Crowns should be planted in 4.5 (heavy soils) or 6 (lighter soils) inch furrows and set on mounds to allow the roots to spread out. Covered with 3 inches of rich soil at planting. Add more soil as shoots develop with an additional 3 inches of rich soil throughout the year. Final depth should not exceed 6 inches.
Keep wees out of Asparagus patch. Asparagus spears should not be harvested in the first year to allow fern to grow and store energy for the second year. After fersn and the stalks die and turn brown, they should be cut back to soil level.
Dill, Coriander, Cosmos, Aster, Garlic, Onion
Jersey Giant and Jersey Knight, both are male and disease resistant; Martha Washington and Mary Washington, both are open pollinated; and Purple Passion
Spears should be harvested every third day. Harvesting should increase as temperatures increase. To harvest, cut the spears just under the soil with a sharp knife. A harvested spear should be about 8-10 inches long. Asparagus tastes the best right after harvest. It can be cooked, canned, or eaten raw.
Potassium, folic acid, niacin, and vitamins C, A, B1 and B2
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Source: UT Extension, PB1578 - Tennessee Master Gardener Handbook