The asparagus plant is a late spring harvest vegetable with a lifespan up to 15 years when cared for properly. Asparagus crowns should be planted in a well-draining soil that offers a neutral pH. Choose a planting location that is set off to the side of the garden to prevent the crowns from being disrupted during garden maintenance. The longevity of the plant makes up for the fact that the crowns will take three years to reach harvest maturity.
Prepare a planting area for the asparagus crowns by testing the soil pH to verify it is 6.5 to 7.5. Asparagus does not grow well in an acidic soil. Work limestone into the soil to raise the pH number.
Plant 1-year-old asparagus crowns in a 12-inch-wide and 6-inch-deep trench in spring once the ground can be worked. Soak the crowns for one to two hours in warm water and set them into the trench so the roots are spread out and the bud is facing upward and higher than the roots. Space the crowns 9 to 12 inches apart.
Cover the crowns with 2 inches of soil mixed with organic compost. Fill soil around the crowns as they grow taller the first growing season. The crowns will rise in the trench as they mature.
Water the asparagus crowns generously after planting. Water the crowns and plants through out the growing season to keep the soil moist but not wet.
Remove weed growth around the asparagus crowns throughout the growing season. Gently pull weeds growing close to the crowns to prevent disturbing the roots. Weeds compete with the asparagus crowns for water and nutrients in the soil.
Fertilize the asparagus crowns each spring with an application of 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of 10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. for the first three years of growth. Apply the same fertilizer for plants 4 years and older in June after harvest is complete instead of spring.
Prepare asparagus for winter by cutting the tops from the plants after the first hard frost in order to decrease the change of a rust infection.