After a long winter, wild asparagus emerges as the first spring harvest. Underground roots send up thick shoots called spears that you must cut within 24 hours to make a tender, tasty meal. Wild asparagus is identical to the cultivated type but grows naturally along road sides or in open fields. Birds eat the red berries of asparagus plants and deposit the digested seeds randomly. Wild asparagus is a perennial that can produce spears for up to 20 years with the right care. Begin your own crop by planting 1- to 2-year-old asparagus crowns (root systems).
Pull all weeds from the area because asparagus plants will not tolerate competition for light or water.
Use a tiller to mix in at least 50 percent compost and/or manure with the top 16 inches of original soil. Remove all large rocks and sticks while digging.
Dig a hole as wide as the crown and 6 to 8 inches deep. Ideally, plant 1-year-old asparagus crowns, which you can buy at a local nursery in early spring.
Place the crown in the center of the hole and cover it with 6 inches of soil. If planting multiple crowns, leave about 2 feet of space in between each.
Soak the ground with water immediately after planting. Water your plant no more than once a week unless you garden experiences a severe lack in rainfall. The soil should stay moist without accumulating any standing water. Wild asparagus is highly drought tolerant.
Once plants emerge, spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch on the surface of the soil. The mulch helps the soil retain moisture and prevents the growth of weeds.
Things You Will Need
- Compost or manure
- 1-year-old crowns
- Locate a planting area with eight or more hours of sunlight a day and well-draining soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Look for an area on the northern side of your garden to avoid shading out other plants as wild asparagus can reach several feet in height.
- To produce well-established plants, do not harvest asparagus spears during their first year of growth. Allow plants to grow ample foliage the first year and then cut back at the start of fall.
- Do not compact the soil over your crowns or the emergence of your asparagus may be stunted.