Asparagus

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Asparagus is pretty easy to grow in most areas and thrives in regions with ground freezing in winter or that have dry seasons. It is, however, difficult to grow in mild, wet regions like Florida and the Gulf Coast. Asparagus cannot compete with weeds for nutrients so be sure that all weeds are pulled before planting.

Before planting make sure to prepare your bed well, remember your asparagus plants will be living here for the next 20 years so you want to dig in plenty of aged manure or compost. Asparagus thrives in soil with a pH of 6.5 – 7.5. Unlike most other vegetable plants, asparagus can live in some shade, but your plants will be more vigorous in full sun and it will help minimize disease. A nice mulch with compost, leaf mold, or straw will help keep weeds to a minimum.

Asparagus plants can be either male or female, with the males producing more harvestable shoots as they do not have to use energy to produce seeds. With a bed of all male plants, 25 plants is enough to supply a family of four, double or even triple that amount if you have female plants mixed in the bed.

During the first two years after planting do not harvest any spears, the plants need to put all their energy to establishing a good deep root system. In the third year you can pick spears during the first 4 weeks of harvest, and the fourth year you can extend your harvest period to 8 weeks. Harvest asparagus spears when they are 6 – 10 inches tall by cutting with a sharp knife or snapping the spear off just below the soil line. You will typically harvest every third day in early spring, but as the weather warms you may be picking twice a day to keep up with production.


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