This guide to growing asparagus from seed to harvest includes step by step instructions with pictures. Asparagus takes only a little care from year to year and will provide you with a bounty of tender spears.
Asparagus is a long lived herbaceous perennial which will produce for up to 20 years or more. The soft feathery foliage will die back in the winter with the spears appearing in early spring.
Asparagus will grow from 40 to 60 inches (100 to 150 cm) tall and will require some support during the warmer months. Different varieties will do better in different climates so it is best to research the best variety for your area before purchasing seeds.
How to Grow Asparagus
It is important to let the plants grow undisturbed for the first two years. This will help develop a good root structure and ensure the health of the plant for the coming years.
Seeds can be started in punnets indoors if you don’t want to wait until spring. It is best to wait until the last frost has finished before planting outside. Some varieties may take up to 2 months to germinate.
Asparagus germinates easily from seed direct in their final position however if you don’t like raising seeds then buying bare rooted crowns is a good option.
The best time to plant asparagus seeds in in the spring.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Asparagus Seeds – These highly rated non GMO Mary Washington Asparagus Seeds are a popular variety. (Paid link)
- Compost or Aged Manure
- Liquid Fertilizer – This organic Fish and Seaweed Fertilizer is good for the soil as well as the plants. (Paid link)
- Stakes and Twine – These eco-friendly strong Fiberglass Garden Stakes are perfect for supporting Asparagus. They are great value and highly rated on Amazon. (Paid link)
Guide to growing asparagus from seed to harvest in the home garden.
- Sow the Asparagus Seed
First prepare the soil by adding compost or aged manure. Make rows 43 inches (110 cm) apart. Plant the seed 12 inches (30 cm) apart in the rows. Sow 2 seeds in each hole ½ inch (1 cm) deep. Keep moist.
- Thin Out Seedlings and Mulch
Thin out seedlings to one every 12 inches (30 cm). Apply a half strength of liquid fertilizer then a full strength application every two weeks for the best results. Mulch well.
- Support the Growing Stems
As the asparagus plants grow taller they will benefit from some support. Put in two stakes at each end of the row then use either twine or soft covered wire to string between the two stakes and around the stems.
- Save Asparagus Seeds
In the fall berries will form on the plant which will produce seeds. To save the seeds; collect the berries when the stems begin to yellow before pruning.
- Prune Back in the Winter
In the winter the asparagus will start to yellow and die back. In warmer climates the foliage may not completely die back so it is a good idea to prune the foliage at the base of the plant once most of the stems turn yellow. However it is best to wait until the second winter to prune the pant as you will not be harvesting until the second year.
- Harvest the Spears
In the second spring (two years from planting) harvest the spears by cutting at the base of the plant with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors. Cut the spears when they are 5 to 8 inches (12 to 20 cm) tall.
- Plant Care
Fertilize regularly with liquid fertilizer during the growing season or use a slow release fertilizer applied in the early spring and middle of summer. Water regularly especially in warm weather.
You can cut the asparagus spears when they are taller however it is best to pick before the tops start to grow out as they won’t be as tender.
This Homesteading guide is a great place to start to get more from your home and garden.
How to Cook Fresh Asparagus
Fresh asparagus is wonderful tossed in a stir fry or steamed for a minute or two until just tender. Another way to cook asparagus is baked in the oven with olive oil and garlic. It will only take 15 minutes at 400°F (200°C). See this recipe for Baked Asparagus with Ham and Cheese.
To prepare fresh asparagus; wash the spears in cold water then bend each spear until it snaps in two. Use the top have then put the woody bottom in the compost.
If you find you have a glut then freezing is a good option. Blanch the spears for one minute before freezing. Frozen asparagus is perfect for making cream of asparagus soup.
To Print or Save this guide to growing asparagus from seed to harvest, the printer friendly PDF version is below.
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