Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that can be grown either from cuttings or seeds. Cutting is by far the simplest and most preferred method to grow asparagus. As this plant usually can take up to three years to produce spears if you opt for the seeding method. But with the cutting method, on the other hand, you can yield a harvest in as little as a year. Once you start getting the harvest you can even store your asparagus and enjoy it throughout the year.
It is often mistaken that asparagus can be regrown by cutting down the stem from one asparagus and sowing it in the soil to grow a new one.
Well, that’s not how it works though, Tuberous roots are used to grow this plant. And as a result, to grow asparagus even by the cutting method, you’ll need root crowns from a friend or a nursery. Also, a little patience and time is a must for obtaining harvest from this plant.
Conditions Required for Growing Asparagus
- Cutting should be planted in well-drained soil with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.
- Make sure the temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit,
- It is strongly recommended to plant root crowns after the risk of frost is completely gone and the temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit,
- The best time to take and plant asparagus cuttings is in the spring.
- It’s critical to choose a planting site where they won’t be disturbed for a long time. As once they mature they will come year after year and you can enjoy the harvest for 15 to 30 years.
- Before you add your cuttings, be sure to incorporate some organic matter into the soil.
- Cuttings should be taken from well-established one-year-old asparagus plants in the garden. Plants that are newer and smaller are less likely to grow as many or as strong roots.
- Cuttings should be between 4-6 inches long and contain at least two nodes, which are little lumps on the stem that show where leaves once were.
How to Grow Asparagus From Cuttings?
Growing asparagus from cutting is very easy, straightforward, and less time-consuming once you have the cutting ready. But transplanting can go wrong if you aren’t cautious and quick enough to do the job. There are mainly five stages in growing the asparagus from the cutting method and they are: Preparing the soil & choosing a location, Getting the cuttings, Planting the cuttings, Care and maintenance, and Harvesting
Getting Your Cuttings
To plant asparagus from cuttings, you must first obtain some cuttings. You can get them from a nursery, an online source, or a friend who has an asparagus patch. Make sure each section of the crown contains a few buds if you’re going to make your cutting. As soon as you have your cuttings, get them in the ground as quickly as possible because delaying the planting can reduce the survival rate of the plants.
Also, ensure that the soil drains adequately since too much moisture can cause rot and other issues with the plants. Keep in mind that in warmer and drier conditions, the plants will develop much healthier and faster.
Dig a Trench
Asparagus can be grown in pots, containers, raised beds, or ordinary garden beds. However, unless you have a small garden, you should not plant them in pots. Aside from that, asparagus cultivated in a pot or container can only be gathered for around 5 years before the plants die.
For planting in a garden, begin by digging an 18-inch-wide, 12-inch-deep trench once the cuttings are ready. Fill a bottom couple of inches with compost that has been amended with phosphorus.
Spread the roots of the asparagus cutting on top of the compost in the trench and plant it. Cover the roots with 2 inches of soil made up of 3 parts dirt to 1 part compost once they’ve been planted. Continue to gradually add more of the same soil mix to the trench as the plants grow. It will be much easier to maintain asparagus plants if they are planted in rows.
Use a one-gallon container filled with potting soil if you’re planting them in pots. And all other planting methods will remain the same no matter which method you opt for,
Note: Just in case you have to wait to plant the roots, keep them in a cool and humid place. Like in a refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel. But even this will last a day, so have your patch ready when you get your cutting.
Taking Care of Asparagus After Planting
You’ll need to fertilize your asparagus plants frequently as they grow, especially since their roots are limited to a small area compared to mature plants that spread outward throughout the bed or border.
- Nutrient Requirements: Asparagus plants are heavy feeders. They will consume a lot of fertilizer, so you can enrich the soil with organic matter such as compost, organic fertilizer, rotted manure, etc. For fresh transplants, balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 applied at 1/2 pound per 100 square feet every three months is sufficient (increase to 2 pounds if growing older plants)
Keep in mind that your plants will feed more during the spring and summer months, so make sure the soil has enough nutrients by then. To encourage the growth of fresh green asparagus leaves, apply a fertilizer with high nitrogen content. Some of the major signs in your plants when there is a lack of nutrients are
- Chlorosis happens when the green color of your asparagus leaves fades. To generate green leaves, asparagus plants require nitrogen and other nutrients.
- Stunted growth: Even if you cultivate your plants in the appropriate conditions, if they don’t get enough nutrients, they won’t develop as big as those that do.
- Plants dying: Your plants will begin to die if you do not improve your soil.
- Water requirements: Water your plants regularly and don’t wait until the soil is completely dry before doing so. Make sure the soil is moist but not damp all of the time. When the soil is well-drained and continuously moist, your asparagus will grow healthier and bigger. Water is equally throughout the spring and summer, but less frequently in the fall and winter. This prevents crown rot, which can harm young plants in cold weather. Watering should be resumed after spring growth develops above ground.
Some signs of underwatering plants are: they’re starting to dry out, leaves are beginning to turn yellow, and the water in the soil dries faster than usual. Likewise, root rotting leaves falling and turning brown are some signs of over-watering.
- Temperature requirements: Asparagus plants can withstand a wide range of temperatures, depending on the species. Despite the plant’s wide temperature tolerance range, the healthiest asparagus is grown at temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temperatures for asparagus should be between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night. When the soil temperature hits 50 degrees in the spring, the plant will begin to produce shoots.
- Harvesting your asparagus: Asparagus takes a long time to mature. It takes around 2-8 weeks to germinate, and the plants can take up to 3 years to mature before they can be harvested. You can begin harvesting asparagus after three years.
Asparagus spears can be harvested up to 5-7 inches long. In their third year, you should only pick them for four weeks at most to ensure that they have enough leaves to survive. You can harvest them for up to six weeks per year after they reach the age of six. Extra plants will sprout from your existing asparagus plants, allowing you to harvest more plants with ease after 4-5 years.
Problems That Can Arise While Growing Asparagus
Asparagus beetles and aphids are common asparagus pests. Asparagus beetles can kill your plants by causing damage to the leaves and other components of the plant. Manual picking and the introduction of natural enemies can be used to control pests. Your asparagus starts to show different signs in stem and buds when they turn bad.
Neem oil is effective at repelling insect pests. Growing asparagus and tomatoes together can also help to limit the population of asparagus bugs. Oregano, Basil, Marigolds, Peppers, and Thyme planting these plants along with asparagus can help to keep diseases at bay.
Root rot in asparagus is caused by a variety of fungus species. While these fungi are found in the soil regularly, they only attack plants that are weak or dying. Overwatering your asparagus plants is the most typical way for decaying fungi to attack. Avoid overwatering your asparagus plants and cut off dead leaves so they don’t decay close to the plant to prevent root rot.
Stems that are long and slender in your asparagus plants have a light deficiency if they are taller than usual and have thin stems and leaves. Give them more sunlight so that they can grow strong and produce adequate leaves.
What Can You Plant Alongside the Asparagus?
Asparagus is a versatile vegetable that can thrive in a variety of environments. While asparagus is most usually cultivated as a stand-alone crop, it can be planted with a variety of other vegetables. Beans, peas, and carrots, tomatoes are among them.
All of these veggies grow in comparable conditions to asparagus and benefit from the shade given by asparagus plants. Furthermore, these veggies can aid in the drainage and aeration of the soil, both of which are necessary for asparagus growth.