Asparagus is a fascinating plant. Although there are many particular rules to growing asparagus, the health benefits from its consumption are great! Asparagus is able to grow in many regions, and has a few requirements that will keep it producing year after year.
Most asparagus is planted as a one-year transplant. It is very difficult to grow from seed. Prepare a sandy, well-draining soil with a high pH for your transplant. The crowns should be planted in a deep trench (6-12 inches, depending on your soil) with a small amount of high-phosphate fertilizer applied to the bottom of the trench. Fill the trench with soil three inches at a time over the season. There will not be spear production until the second year and even then it will be limited.
Your plant will take the next two years establishing its root crown, so do not harvest until the third year. Asparagus begins producing spears early in the spring, and it produces very fast during a period of a few weeks. You can almost literally sit and watch it grow! After harvest is complete, leave additional spears to continue growing. These ferns will recharge the root crown. Once established, asparagus plants can live and produce for 12-15 years. Some plants have been in cultivation for as long as 50 years!
Care for your growing fern the rest of the year by watching for insects and diseases like rust and root rot. Keep the asparagus bed weeded. Asparagus needs little watering once established, because its roots are very deep (upwards to 10 feet.) After late summer, do not irrigate or water. It is time for your plant to rest until spring.
By following these tips, you can ensure a healthy crop of asparagus spears for years to come! As well as being delicious, asparagus is high in vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin A. As well, it is an excellent antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder it's been in cultivation for over 2000 years!