Asparagus are harvested by hands, and because of high wages this very delicious vegetable is too expensive and almost inaccessible! But when ones stabilized in your garden, asparagus will give the fruit a year after year with very little effort and with almost no costs. Feather like green foliage is used in floral arrangements, but cut it tightly if you want to have a good crop next year.
POSITION AND SOIL
Choose an open sunny position and good soil that has good drainage. The best are light soils, which tend to sandiness. For a very difficult soil, add sand to improve drainage. In the fall turn over the soil thoroughly to remove all the roots of weed and add whatever more mature compost and manure you can. Once planted, the culture may stay there for twenty years, so it is therefore wise to ensure that the culture gets a good foundation without permanent weed.
SOWING AND PROPAGATION OF ASPARAGUS
At the end of April sow a seed 5 cm deep to grown new plants. When seedlings are large enough to handle put them in intervals of 15 cm. Always use fresh seed. If the seed is older than one year, it loses its germination. Usual way is to buy crowns that are one or two years old and plant them in spring as soon as possible. This will save you a whole year of development. Do not let crowns dry up – if you have to wait several days before planting them, put them in a moist peat.
Dig a trench 20-25 cm deep and 30 cm wide. Then at the bottom, form a low ridge7.5 cm high. Put crowns in the intervals of 38-45 cm so the thread-like roots lie on both sides of the ridge. Then cover the plant with 5 – 7.5 cm thick layer of soil, and then gradually, while digging to destroy weeds, fill the trench with soil. If you grow more than one line of plants then the lines should be at a distance of 120-150 cm. When the leaves fully emerge, it may be necessary to put a few stakes between plants and to connect stakes and branches with some rope or wire to support plants. This way you can prevent a wind from breaking your plants. In autumn trim the leaves to a height of 5 cm above the ground. In fact, it usually needs to be done immediately after the first frost when the leaves are yellow and before berries of female plants drop to the ground. If you allow berries to fall on the ground, they will appear as scattered crowns that will be difficult to distinguish from the grown plants. If the leaves are cut too early, the exuberance of the sprouts will be reduced next year. Every fall and spring apply 2,5-5 cm of soil on each side of the lines. The higher the depth of soil that covers the branches, the longer white part of the stem. If you prefer green stem, then reduce the covering. Put complex fertilizers on the lines in the amount of 60-85 grams per square meter. Cover the surface with mature compost after mid-June to counter the weeds, retain moisture and improve soil and growth of asparagus in the coming years.
Year after planting you can cut one asparagus from each plant. The following year, all the asparagus can be cut for a period of four weeks, a third year (when the plants are four and five years old) asparagus can be cut for six weeks. Stop with cutting in late June, to provide plants an opportunity to gather strength for the coming year.
Be sure to regularly harvest asparagus, the best every day, to get delicious crops. If you don’t want to prepare them immediately, put them in a cold water for some time before storing them in a cold place. If they stay for too long, they will become flabby, stale and bitter.
Cut asparagus when they are 10-15 cm above the ground. Always cut them before the top starts to open and transform into the crop foliage that creates branches. This means that asparagus should be cut about every three days in cold time, and almost every day when the weather is hot. The old kitchen knife with a broken point is the perfect tool for cutting. Sharpen the broken end and slightly intrude it near asparagus so you can cut around 5-10 cm below the soil surface. When you acquire the skills, it is possible to bend a crop toward yourself and to break the crop of the plant with your hands.
POSSIBLE PROBLEMS WITH ASPARAGUS
If you see that the leaves and branches are eaten by some gray larva and their parents, common asparagus beetle, spray them with some licensed insecticide.
Asparagus is a perennial plant and is not subject to crop rotation, which makes it unsuitable for growing in a garden smaller then 3 x 4 m. The best would be that you find a place elsewhere in the garden for yours asparagus.