Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that is rather expensive to purchase in the grocery store, but very easy to grow for yourself in a victory garden. And if you are the type of person who likes to maximize their time, energy, and money, you’ll be pleased to find out that asparagus is a perennial vegetable. This means you will only have to plant asparagus once, but you’ll have a harvest year after year.
The key to success in any vegetable plot or victory garden is making sure that you provide each plant what it needs, and harvest wisely. Here are the secrets to success for growing delicious asparagus that won’t cost you a small fortune to feed your family.
Purchasing Asparagus Plants or Seeds
Asparagus plants are often available as 2-year-old crowns with a long, stable root system already in place. Since asparagus is a perennial vegetable, I have had the most success purchasing the plants already started in this fashion. Asparagus is available in seed, but it will take two or three years before any shoots of harvestable size are produced. By planting 1 or 2-year-old crowns and roots, you can begin to harvest the very next year.
Taking Care of Asparagus Plants
Asparagus tends to be what many call a “heavy feeder”. This means that it needs to have plenty of rich, organic material to keep the soil well fertilized. This can be as simple as a thick layer of mulch or compost added onto the garden bed each year. Maintenance is easy with a yearly trimming of old fronds in the late winter or early spring. This will allow room for the new shoots that appear in early spring.
Harvesting Asparagus Plants from the Garden
Harvesting asparagus plants couldn’t be any easier. Stalks that are thicker than your pinky finger can be snapped off at soil level, rinsed, and then cooked in whatever way you most enjoy. Stalks that are smaller than you pinky finger should be allowed to grow into leafy fronds to help the plant gather energy and nutrients. They will be larger the following year and your harvest will increase. Usually your home-grown spears will be 6-10 inches long. Gardeners will want to watch their asparagus closely in the spring, and harvest spears before the tips begin to open.
Asparagus is such a long-lasting plant, a few dozen roots will provide produce for a family for many years. The taste of the home-grown spears vs store-bought spears is incomparable, and savings of growing your own is significant.
Here are additional resources for growing and using asparagus.