How to Plant Asparagus

When I bought my apple trees and grape vines last month, I added a new kind of asparagus to my nursery order – Purple Passion asparagus. It’s a purple variety that is supposed to taste sweeter than the green variety I already have planted. Well, I love my Mary Washington (green) asparagus, so I can’t wait to try the Purple Passion. In the beginning of this year, I posted an article, Sanctuary Spotlight on Asparagus, giving information on the plant, recipes, and a slide show of asparagus growth. I did include information in that post on planting asparagus (along with a hand-drawn diagram), but I wanted to dedicate an entire post on how I planted asparagus and include actual photographs of the planting.

The raised bed my asparagus is planted in is a two-tiered bed. I planted Mary Washington asparagus in the back part of the bed two years ago. I tried planting various things in the front part of the bed, but nothing grew well there. I figured it was due to the large asparagus fern overshadowing the lower part of the bed, keeping it from getting enough sunlight. So, the only solution? Plant more asparagus in the front of the bed!

After I cut down the asparagus fern in the back of the bed, we augmented the soil on the top and bottom with cow manure compost. (I do this every year at the end of the season.) I also added some sand to the bottom bed to loosen it up – in preparation of planting the new asparagus roots.

Augmenting asparagus bed with cow manure compost and sand

Augmenting asparagus bed with cow manure compost and sand

We then chose where to plant the asparagus. The roots/crowns should be planted 12 inches apart. I zigzagged my roots to get them all into my 9 1/2 foot bed. They weren’t quite 12 inches apart, but my green asparagus is doing just fine planted the same way.

Asparagus roots laid out for planting

Asparagus roots laid out for planting

Next we dug a hole under each root, then created a mound of dirt in the center for the crown to rest upon.

Mound for asparagus root/crown

Mound for asparagus root/crown

We then put the asparagus root on the mound as in this diagram:

Planting asparagus roots/crowns

Planting asparagus roots/crowns

Here’s a photograph of it:

Asparagus root/crown planted

Asparagus root/crown planted

The top of the crown should be even with the soil. Some people leave the crown poking out of the soil a little bit. I cover them. Either way is fine.

Sometime in February (at least, here in the Charleston, SC area), my first purple asparagus should start poking through the soil. I can’t harvest it this first year, but I might steal a spear or two just to taste!

Do you grow asparagus? Have you tried the purple variety? Comment below.



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