Asparagus is a fernlike perennial plant that is grown in the home garden for its edible stalks. The stalks are harvested throughout the early part of the summer once they reach about 6 inches tall. Most asparagus beds are permanent plantings, as asparagus lives for decades with minimal care. The spears grow from crowns and an extensive root system, which makes moving them difficult. If your bed becomes overcrowded or must be relocated, it is possible to dig up and move the asparagus crowns, though some of the older plants may not survive the process. Late winter is the best time to dig asparagus. Transplant when the tops have died back but when the soil has thawed enough to work.
Lay a 3-inch layer of compost over a well-draining, full sun garden bed. Work the compost into the top 10 to 12 inches of the soil to add further drainage and nutrients to the area.
Work a nitrogen-rich fertilizer into the garden bed. Follow fertilizer package application instructions.
Dig around the asparagus crowns with a blunt trowel. Dig down 10 inches, then slide the trowel under the crowns, lifting them out of the soil. Avoid cutting into thick roots as much as possible, though cutting the small hair-like roots causes minimal damage.
Dig planting holes in the new bed to a 10 to 12 inch depth and approximately 1 foot wide. Make a 5-inch mound of soil in the center of each planting hole. Space the planting holes 18 inches apart.
Set the asparagus plant in the planting hole so the crown sits on top of the mound with the roots trailing beneath it. Refill the hole with soil, placing approximately 2 to 3 inches of soil on top of the crown.
Water the bed thoroughly immediately after planting so the soil compacts around the asparagus roots. Add more soil over the crown if necessary to keep the soil level. Water asparagus weekly, providing 1 inch of water at each irrigation. Add more soil over the crown after each watering if the soil compacts further.
Things You Will Need
- Avoid harvesting asparagus during the year immediately following transplanting. Moved beds need one season to become re-established so they can thrive in their new location.
- Plant asparagus in its own bed, as the tall ferns of the plant may provide too much shade to lower-growing plants.
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