Asparagus are like Cadillacs – expensive and fancy. Even rapper Big Sean thinks asparagus is fancy. Truth be told, asparagus isn’t your run of the mill vegetable. When it comes to growing it, it is pretty fancy – you gotta wait three years before you can dig in, or cut down in this case, but it’s well worth the wait. With a little bit of patience you can have over 20 years worth of fancy asparagus and skip the expense, by growing these gourmet vegetables yourself, in your garden at home.

You’ll need:

  • Patience (3 years before first good yield)
  • Crowns/Seeds
  • Sandy Soil
  • Outdoor space
  • Lots of sun
  • Spray mister (optional)

There are two ways to grow asparagus. You can start from seeds (I had no success with seeds) or start from crowns (I’ll be trying crowns this year)

Starting With Asparagus Crowns

Part One: Prepare the soil

  1. Asparagus likes a well drained sandy soil, so add some compost if your soil is heavy or has a lot of clay
  2. Prepare trenches 6″ deep,  4″ wide and 36″ apart. The reason the rows need to be so far apart is that that there’s no chance you trample on them as you walk through your garden. They’re delicate and will not survive being crushed.

Part Two: Plant the crowns

  1. Plant the crowns in the rows about 2″ apart. Just make sure you can spread the roots easily without them touching one another.
  2. Fill in the trench with a little bit of soil
  3. When the shoots start come up, fill in with a little bit more soil. Do this until the trench is filled to ground level – a few weeks
  4. Water it alot. Asparagus needs about an inch of water every week

If you start with two-year old crowns, you can expect to enjoy delicious asparagus the following summer.

Starting With Seeds

Part One: Start growing your seeds inside

  1. Soak the seeds for two hours.
  2. Plant one seed per 2″ pot. Tip: poke a hole into the soil using the eraser end of a pencil, drop in one seed per hole and cover with soil.
  3. Place in a sunny spot near a window.
  4. Spray a mist of water every couple of days to keep the soil a little bit moist, but not wet.
  5. In about two to eight weeks, the seeds will sprout.

Part Two: Transplant the seedlings outside

  1. When the seedlings are about 10-12 weeks old, move them outside. Make sure the frost has passed and there’s no chance of it returning.
  2. Prepare trenches 6″ deep,  4″ wide and 36″ apart. The reason the rows need to be so far apart is that that there’s no chance you trample on them as you walk through your garden. They’re delicate and will not survive being crushed.
  3. Give plants an inch of water each week
  4. Watch little asparagus fronds grow. Don’t cut them!
Asparagus fronds in year two

Asparagus fronds in year two

When can you eat them?

  1. Make sure to let the asparagus grow for 3 years, don’t cut them. Other than watering them, don’t do anything. Asparagus are introverts, they do much better and become much stronger if you leave them alone for a while.
  2. In the third year, wait for the asparagus to grow and cut them at ground level when they’re about 5″ tall.
  3. For the next 20 years you’ll have the most delicious asparagus with a flavor that you simply can’t find in the grocery store. All grown at home in your personal urban farm!

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