Sunday, April 1, 2012

How to Plant Asparagus in your Home Garden

Growing new types of edible plants is so exciting! Back in February, a small group of folks from our local Ypsi Growers Co-operative group placed plant orders together- it was nice to strategize how to split the orders together, and talk about what varieties we each would choose. We decided there was enough interest to place an order for asparagus from De Bruyn, potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange, and a variety of native fruit trees from Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District. I ordered several varieties of potatoes Rose Finn Apple, German Butterball, Yukon Gold, and Mountain Rose. I'll also have an apricot tree, which I have to magically create a space for. 

I am excited to say that today my asparagus order came in! I bought 10 crowns ("crowns" are what you call a 1-2 year old asparagus plant) total; 5 Jersery Knight and 5 Purple Passion. I planted them in alternating order. They'll be beautiful! Also- asparagus crown totally look like weird spiders, don't they?

I have a good feeling it'll be a fun plant to watch.

How-To Plant Asparagus in your home garden:

Step 1: Pick your site & Grab tools

Tools needed are pretty basic: a wheelbarrow, a shovel, some work gloves, and a rake. 

Decide where you want to put your asparagus crowns. They're perennials, so choose good spot- they'll be there for a while! Asparagus does best in full sun. Crowns need to be spaced 1-1.5 ft apart, so factor that into your location choice as well. Ideally, soil will be light and well-drained.

Step 2: Dig a trench

You'll be planting the asparagus crowns in a trench, and then back-filling the soil, so it's time to get digging! The trench you're digging should be 8-12" deep and about 12" across. Remember, crowns need to be at least a foot apart, so when you're digging, give them enough space!

As you're digging, you'll want to set the excess soil somewhere where you can easily scoop it up again; you'll be needing it a few steps from now! Once you finish, you can smooth out the bottom of the trench with a rake or a shovel.

Step 3: Make a small ridge at base & place crowns

When you're finished with the trench, you can either back fill a small amount of dirt you just dug up, or add compost, which is what I chose to do. You're making a 3" tall ridge that spans the length of the trench and is 3-5 inches wide. (See left)

When you're done adding the ridge, you can place the crowns. Everything I've read says you can spread the roots out, but it's not necessary.

 Step 4: Backfill the trench

Once crowns are place, you can start to backfill. I've read conflicting things- several sources said to only backfill 2-3" over the crowns, and several sources said to just go ahead and backfill all the way. Although this picture doesn't show it, I chose to backfill so the tops of the crowns were covered, but to not completely finish the job. As the plants send up asparagus shoots, I'll fill the rest in.

Now you know the ropes.

Is there any asparagus planting in your future?


  1. Got any asparagus action yet? Loving this rain!

  2. I am interested to know how this worked out? I am thinking of planting along a fence as well. Any issues?