An asparagus plant can last 15 years. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Office of Continuing Professional Education, 2019 Mid-Atlantic Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations, Report Accessibility Barrier or Provide Feedback Form, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Stephen Garrison, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Jennifer Matthews, Senior Program Coordinator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Cumberland County, Meredith Melendez, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, Mercer County, Peter Nitzsche, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, Morris County, 5-foot field cultivator or 4-foot rototiller. Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) is considered a tasty and highly nutritious vegetable plant that lives up to 20 years. Asparagus, or garden asparagus, folk name sparrow grass, scientific name Asparagus officinalis, is a perennial flowering plant species in the genus Asparagus.Its young shoots are used as a spring vegetable.. Go ahead and pick all the spears each time you harvest. Warnings. This is nothing like a tomato or a pepper plant. Perennial asparagus can produce a spring or early summer crop of edible spears for 15 years or more. Cantaluppi, C. J., and Precheur, R. (1993). Usually, you can control them with hand picking. Weekly applications of irrigation sufficient to wet the soil 8 inches deep should be adequate. After the field is established, maintenance costs are minimal compared to annual vegetables. Cook cut spears immediately or refrigerate in plastic to raise the humidity and prevent tough fibers from forming at the base of the spear. How well you prepare the bed determines the vigor of your asparagus patch for years to come. These periods of dormancy allow asparagus stalks to grow more robustly in the spring than they do in warmer regions with milder winters. Putnam, A. R., Stuckey, R., Lacy, M. L., Cress, D. C., Bird, G. W., & Dover, M. J. Asparagus should be planted in sandy loam or loam soils with very good surface and internal drainage. Weed management must be planned prior to planting the crop. Tetrault, R., McNab, A.A., Ferretti, P.A., and Orzolek, M.D., (1986) Asparagus Production for Small-Scale Growers and Gardeners, U/Ed/ 86–601. Allow space between the top of the spears and the box cover. Only disease-free seeds or crowns should be used. Dean, B. of nitrogen/A. Read How to Lay Out a Vegetable Garden for tips on where to put everything. After frost, plants often come back from roots. Observe plants for insects and apply recommended controls. Asparagus, one of the most reliable of the perennial vegetables, produces an early harvest of tender spears in the spring. I love looking at the delicate beauty and play of light filtering through fine-leaved asparagus stalks in summer, especially as a backdrop to bolder-leaved plants and flowers. Test your soil, and apply lime if need be to adjust soil pH to 6.7–6.8. 88 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8525 Some markets prefer spears of other lengths and diameters. Perennial weeds must be eliminated by tillage prior to planting the crop. Asparagus also forms roots near the soil surface and doesn't tolerate root damage, which makes cultivating and other weed control practices difficult. The idea is to wait at least 2 seasons and probably 3 before harvesting. Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Ithaca, NY. After the ferns turn brown (late October or November), use a ridging disc to form a 2–3-inch ridge over the top of the asparagus row. How to Winterize Asparagus Plants. Adult beetles are ¼ inch long with shiny black wings that have red margins and three yellow spots on each wing. Asparagus production, management and marketing, Ohio State University Extension Bulletin 826 (USA). Plant healthy, certified 1-year-old crowns; never use 2- or 3-year-old crowns. Feathery and fern-like, it adds…, The free gardening app you've been waiting for. Asparagus is usually planted in the form of bare-root crowns. What Time of Year Is Asparagus Planted?. Building a box for your asparagus plants will keep them organized and tidy. (Asparagus can also be planted in the fall. New hybrid varieties that have some rust resistance will reduce reliance on fungicide applications. Deep rip or sub soil the field to eliminate compaction and break up any hard pan. The old rule of thumb is to harvest until the diameter of the spear decreases to the size of a pencil. Good soil moisture is important at planting for good root and fern growth. In addition to feeding your plants, this organic fertilizer feeds the beneficial microbes in the soil that help those plants take up more nutrition. (See more on that below.) Apply fungicides in late July and again in mid-August and early September to control foliar diseases. In fact, one of the best ways to avoid asparagus rust, a fungal disease that reduces yields, is to plant rust-resistant varieties. Severe rust infestations can destroy much of the foliage and reduce the yield of the next year's crop. Asparagus plants (Asparagus officinalis) are unusual because they're dioecious, which means some plants are male while others are female. So much to grow, so little time. Asparagus may be marketed successfully through roadside markets, pick-your-own, restaurants, CSA programs, or farmer's markets. Enjoy dabbling in the diversity of deliciousness you’ll find in our Foodie Fresh collection. However, established plants can produce much longer, as much as 8 weeks. Organic production of asparagus is challenging due to increased time commitment and high labor costs associated with weed control and the lack of effective organic pest controls. Washington State University Extension Bulletin, 997. These fibers form as a result of the injury of cutting. The spears that we enjoy as a vegetable are the new shoots that emerge in spring. Asparagus attributes such as spear length, diameter, tip quality, and spear color must also be taken into consideration. First of all, you need to choose the right spot. Many seasoned gardeners use a knife to cut below the soil line, but it is important to avoid cutting into emerging spears nearby. If you want to put some aside to enjoy in the months to come, blanch them in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, douse in cold water, wrap, and freeze. Fresh asparagus is a treat every summer when the stalks emerge from the ground. These plants can grow up to 5 feet in height and have a root system that will go down at least 6 feet. That’s why spears from the grocery store or from the refrigerator should always be trimmed to remove any tough tissue before cooking. Growing asparagus is an investment in your culinary future. One of the biggest issues farmers need to consider when growing asparagus is site selection. All rights reserved. Asparagus can be productive for 15 years or more, so the investment in land, time, and location is critical to success. Asparagus should be packed vertically into ventilated shipping containers that can withstand moisture and prevent the spears from damage. Cover the crowns with 2–3 inches of soil from the berm, and top dress 25 lb. As plants grow taller, rake a little of the soil on the edge of the row into the depression where plants are growing. Washington asparagus production guide. In addition to great soil, asparagus needs a steady supply of plant food to grow its best. Most markets prefer the standard 9-inch long, all-green spear. Bold colors. If spears are washed, the wash water should contain an EPA-registered sanitizer. Insufficient soil moisture in periods of dry weather may result in subsequent reductions in yield. Choose a sunny, well-drained site on the edge of your garden where it will not be disturbed by the activity of planting and re-planting other areas. Make a 7-inch deep furrow with a middle buster or specially-designed furrow shaper in early April. The damaged stalk grows normally on the side away from the wound, causing the spear to bend. Sugars are respired and converted to lignin fibers resulting in a loss of sweet flavor and an increase in toughness. They will remain in the same place in your garden for many years—15, 20, sometimes 30. Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Plant healthy, certified 1-year-old crowns; never use 2- or 3-year-old crowns. Adequate soil moisture is important during the first growing season. Jersey Giant Male Asparagus Root,Large Crowns,2 Year Old, (Free UK Postage) (5-Crowns) By bjxhgarden 9.6 View Product ... Asparagus Fern Plant By carbeth-plants 7.0 View Product 7.0 Planting from seed delays harvest for an additional year, so asparagus is often planted from 1-year-old crowns, producing a small crop in three years and a heavier yield for up to 30 years. Once your rows are level with the soil line, lay down a layer of mulch to retain soil moisture and prevent weeds. However, asparagus requires a high initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs and offers no net income until the third or fourth growing season. Apply super phosphate in the furrows based on soil test results. You can start asparagus from seed or from one-year-old roots, called “crowns.” Crowns grow vertically and horizontally. From page 19---three German experts advocate 4'-5' between rows and 3 1/2 between plants. Ultra-Niche Crops are defined as exceptionally high-value crops that can provide a significant source of income to the farmer while using minimal land area. Asparagus Plumosus House Plant in a 12cm Pot - Asparagus Fern Plant. Plant asparagus in spring or fall in a sunny spot with nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. These are 1-year-old clumps of roots with dormant buds that can be planted directly in the garden. High quality spears have tight bracts at the tip. Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules. Plant asparagus in spring or fall in a sunny spot with nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Asparagus beetles can be controlled by insecticides. How to Cultivate an Asparagus Bed. The common asparagus beetle (Figure 1) is a serious pest every year. Avoid inter-planting small and large crowns because the large crowns will tend to out-compete small crowns and may prevent the long-term survival of the small crowns, leaving gaps in the stands. Apply the pre-emergence herbicides at half the full season rate. As one of the few perennial vegetables, asparagus must grow in a permanent location. In spring, dig 6- to 8-inch deep rows and plant asparagus 12 to 18 inches apart. An understanding of the types of weeds to control and a plan of action for each weed type is recommended to ensure effective control and high yields of a high-quality asparagus. Asparagus can be grown in most parts of the country but does especially well in cooler regions with longer, colder winters. Unmarketable, small, and defective spears are cut and left in the field. With the right care, an asparagus bed can produce for 10 to 20 years. Choose its spot in the garden carefully. When weeds first appear, cultivate to destroy weeds, and till soil in the furrow, being careful to avoid covering asparagus foliage. Planting infested seed or infected crowns can lead to a rapid buildup of the pathogen in the soil and crowns that will drastically reduce yields of the asparagus and permanently contaminate the field for asparagus planting in the future. Plant multiple asparagus fern divisions in the same planter to give the plants a fuller, more established look. Ornamental asparagus will survive light frosts but may be killed to ground by severe cold. A well-drained bed will have minimal disease problems. Asparagales (asparagoid lilies) is an order of plants in modern classification systems such as the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG) and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Web.The order takes its name from the type family Asparagaceae and is placed in the monocots amongst the lilioid monocots.The order has only recently been recognized in classification systems. Amend your soil the fall before planting asparagus crowns to boost potassium and phosphorus. How much your family enjoys asparagus determines how many plants you will need. Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, so it is grown in much of the country. The key to growing asparagus is to have healthy, vigorous plants that produce a lot of spears. Planting new vigorous asparagus varieties that are adaptable to local conditions and reducing plant stress will help minimize the damage from Fusarium root and crown rot. Apply the amount of lime (calcitic or dolomitic) recommended by a soil test to bring soil pH to 6.7–6.8. This will provide all the nutrition your new asparagus plants need to start growing. Asparagus information bulletin. New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Apply fungicides in late July and again in mid-August and early September to control foliar diseases, including asparagus rust, purple spot, and cercospora leaf blight. The common asparagus beetle and the spotted asparagus beetle feed on asparagus spears and cause browning and scarring. Acceptable varieties for the Mid-Atlantic U.S. include. Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a perennial crop that can thrive for 15 years or more when well-cared for. Get gardening info on the go with our free app, HOMEGROWN with Bonnie Plants. B., Boydston, R., Cone, W., Johnson, D., Ley, T. W., Mink, G., Parker, R., Stevens, R., Sorensen, E. and Van Denburgh, R. (1993). It is essential to shade harvested asparagus and quickly move it to a cooler environment or the packing house to prevent moisture loss and heating. And it’s blessed with the best upbringing a young plant can have: Miracle-Gro Head Start. Plant vigor declines, spear size and yield decreases, and weaker plants may die. Select and obtain high quality se… Crowns from 2-year-old asparagus plants can be harvested lightly the year after you plant them, but these larger roots are also more susceptible to transplant shock than 1-year crowns. Trim out old shoots to make room for new growth. Asparagus can be grown from seed, but most home gardeners plant 1-year-old crowns. Apply potassium and other recommended amendments according to the soil test. Fusarium can be identified by the reddish-brown color of the feeder roots, reddish-brown spots and streaks on the storage roots, large reddish lesions on the base of the spears and stalks at or below the soil line, and wilting and die-back of maturing shoots. Crowns should be kept cool (under 40° F) to prevent dehydration and bud growth during storage. Take a soil sample and obtain a complete analysis including pH, major, secondary, and minor nutrients. Frost injury can be reduced by ridging soil onto raised beds when preparing the field in the spring, selecting a variety that emerges late, or selecting a site that has heavier soils that warm more slowly, thus delaying spear emergence beyond the threat of frost. Apply the recommended pre-emergence herbicide at the full season rate. Cooperating Agencies: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and County Boards of Chosen Freeholders. Feed in spring with complete fertilizer. Then apply fertilizer, ridge the rows, and prepare the soil as directed for year two. Thanks to their fleshy roots, plants can go for some time without water, but they grow better when watered regularly. This will help excess water drain away from the crown during the winter. If crowns vary in size, sort small and large crowns, and plant like-size crowns in blocks. Sanitation of the crop in the fall by removing plant debris from the field (and mechanical tillage in the spring) may be helpful in reducing overwintering populations of the pest. A 15-inch spacing on 66-inch centers gives 6,336 crowns/A. Start looking for these pests in early May or just after asparagus plants emerge and continue for the rest of the growing season. It is important to recognize and understand your target customers and base the size of the asparagus acreage on market potential. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Crowns should be kept cool (under 40° F) to prevent dehydration and bud growth during storage. These crowns, or roots, were grown from seed by nurseries and commercial growers. Several diseases impact asparagus, and the purchasing or production of certified crowns is a priority. Place crowns in the furrows with the apical buds oriented upward, 12 to 15 inches apart in the row. Because the soil is so rich, invaders can take hold quickly. Careful preparation makes the journey easier. Asparagus rust is another common fungal disease. Till soil, and fill in furrows so that furrows are level with beds by mid-September. As asparagus grows taller, backfill the rows with soil until it is eventually level with the garden bed. Then all you need to do is be patient. A. nitrogen/A followed by post emergence herbicides. Now I'm worried about my purchase. When soil moisture is favorable and before spears begin to emerge (usually mid-March) use ridging discs to form a 4 to 6-inch ridge of soil over the asparagus row. This includes asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) a perennial vegetable that grows in U.S Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 though 8. 4.6 out of 5 stars 27. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Washed, trimmed, sized, and bunched asparagus spears should be placed at 35° F and cooled as quickly as possible following harvest. encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues An alternative to purchasing commercial asparagus crowns is to grow your own crowns from seed. You’ll be rewarded in the long run! You can buy asparagus seed, but it is more usual to cultivate from one-year-old asparagus crowns. Mow brush from the previous season and apply glyphosate. Shallow cultivation should be used to control winter annual weeds in the spring. Smooth the ridge with a 5' wide field cultivation tool set at a height to avoid damaging the underlying crowns or emerging spears. Asparagus plants can remain productive for up to 20 years, so it's worthwhile spending time on preparing the bed to give them a flying start in life. Asparagus can be stored up to 10 days if held between 32–36° F at 90–98% relative humidity. Bent spears are caused by insects feeding or damage from cutting adjacent stalks. Early in the season, while asparagus shoot buds are still dormant (late February or early March), mow off the brush from the first growing season with a rotary mower. Soon the bed will be level. These symptoms are much more severe when the plants are under stress due to excessively long harvests, poor drainage, competition from weeds, and damage from insects and foliage diseases. Propagation. In fact, a productive asparagus bed is a good reason to renovate your house, rather than move! Planting asparagus is like preparing for a trip. Ideal daytime temperatures during the growing season are 75° to 85° F with night temperatures from 60° to 70° F. Early spears can be frost damaged which results in dark-colored spears that collapse within 24 hours after frost exposure. A 12-inch spacing on 60-inch row centers results in 8,712 crowns/A. Mulch for the winter, or grow a cool-season cover crop that can be turned under before planting in spring. Find out more, or download it now for iPhone or Android. At first picking, the 1 yr old crowns produced almost twice as much as the 2 yr old crowns. If it is a family favorite or you plan to freeze some for later, you will need more. For more on that, check out our How to Plant a Fall Garden article.). Once asparagus plants are strong enough to be harvested, cut all new shoots in spring when they are about 8 inches tall, snapping them off at the soil line. The fungal pathogen appears on the surface of stems and branches as small rust-colored elliptical spots containing spores that facilitate the spread of the disease. Spears for commercial markets are usually trimmed at the cut or butt end; sized by diameter into small, medium, large, and jumbo categories; and bundled into 1 or 1.5 pound bunches for retail sale. 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