Propagate by seed, division or separation - Purchase disease-free,
1-year-old crowns for planting. Divide plants in early spring, if
desired. Asparagus can also be grown from seed, but requires an extra
year to establish.
Germination temperature: 70 F to 77 F
Days to emergence: 10 to 12
Seed can be saved 3 years.
Carefully consider site before planting this long-lived perennial. Test
soil and apply phosphorus, potassium and lime as indictated before
planting. Avoid frost pockets as late killing frosts will damage spears.
crowns 4 to 6 weeks before average last frost, 18 to 24 inches apart in
trenches 8 inches deep. (5 inches deep for Jersey series cultivars.)
Spread roots in bottom of trench and cover with 1 to 2 inches of soil.
Gradually cover with more soil as the plants grow.
Do not cut back ferns in fall until they die naturally.
highest yields, plant all-male hybrids, such as the Jersey series from
Rutgers University (Jersey Giant, Jersey King, Jersey Knight). If using
older varieties, such as Martha Washington, you can identify the less
productive female plants at flowering and replace them with male
plants. The flowers on male plants are larger and longer than the
female flowers, have six stamens and a small nonfunctional pistil. The
female flowers have six small nonfunctional pistils and a well
developed, three-lobed stamen.
Water during dry spells during the first year. Do not overwater as plants don’t tolerate water-logged soils.
To blanch asparagus, carefully hill soil over spears or grow under opaque buckets or row covers.
mulching with hay, straw, leaves or grass clippings helps control weeds
and keep soil from drying out. (Be careful not to bring in weed seeds
with your mulch.) Regular applications of compost or well-rotted manure
provide a steady source of nutrients.
Weeds can be challenging.
Keep plantings well cultivated and mulched to prevent weeds from
getting established. Mulch heavily around plantings to keep spreading
weeds such as quackgrass from invading. While plants are salt-tolerant,
the old practice of using salt to kill weeds is not recommended. With
older varieties that are not all-male, weed out volunteer plants from
females that set seed.