Growing Asparagus is Worth the Wait

Apr 14, 2017

A patch of asparagus can be a great addition to your vegetable garden as they can live up to 30 years. But without immediate visible results, the process can seem discouraging to some. Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University and Extension Commercial Vegetable Specialist, Ajay Nair, says that waiting the 3-4 years prior to a full harvest is worth the wait.

He offers instructions for planting your young asparagus plant, generally referred to as a crown.

“Asparagus is usually planted in trenches. These trenches are about 4-5 feet apart. Each trench, depending on the soil type should be about 6-8 inches deep. You put the crown in there, and the crowns within the trench are spaced anywhere from 12-16 inches apart.”

Nair also gives advice for when to stop harvesting your asparagus.

“If you see that more than fifty percent of your spears are less than 3/8 of an inch in diameter, that’s a good indicator that the plant is showing stress [and] it has run out of gas. Now it needs to turn those spears into ferns, photosynthesize and produce those carbohydrates and replenish it in the crown.”

On today’s Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe is joined by Nair and Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist Richard Jauron. They discuss the necessary steps for establishing an asparagus patch, as well as answer listener questions.