Growing Asparagus In Raised Beds Made Simple!

Put all that excavating, mounding, and constant backfilling out of your mind. (Not to mention weeding, which requires you to get on your knees and stoop!).

Growing asparagus in raised beds reduces the labour needed for planting and harvesting. Also, the warmth ensures that the spears will emerge from the ground earlier in the spring.

Following this step-by-step tutorial will ensure that you find success growing asparagus in raised beds.

Asparagus is one of those plants that, once planted, will continue to produce fruit for anywhere between 20 and 30 years.

That’s getting close to being an heirloom, all by itself… Imagine one day handing down your asparagus bed to your children!

So when I finally had the room in our garden to start growing asparagus in raised beds, I did not spend any time getting the process started.

Why? Because it takes several years for asparagus to reach its full potential, even when given the finest possible care and fertilizer,

As a perennial plant, asparagus requires a permanent location in your yard. No other plants will be grown there.

In contrast to many different types of plants, they do not like being raised alongside other plants. They despise the competition from grasses and weeds.

Suppose you plant your asparagus on a tall raised bed, which is by far the easiest method. In that case, you won’t have to worry about digging, mounding, squatting, kneeling, or weeding your crop as you would if you grew it traditionally.

A raised bed helps the earth warm up more quickly in the spring, which means that your asparagus will grow more rapidly.

If you want to grow asparagus in a simple way that requires little upkeep, I suggest doing it this way.

When To Use Store-Bought Asparagus?

You only have a little time to place your order or pick up your asparagus crowns because they are only available once a year, in the early spring.

Many reliable online providers even run out of stock by the beginning of spring. You should look at their inventory in the winter (when you’re also reading seed catalogs) and place your purchase well in advance.

Because asparagus purchased online is delivered to you according to the date of the last frost in your region, you must select the appropriate delivery window (which typically spans from March to May).

If you locate asparagus crowns in your area and are ready to be transplanted, brick-and-mortar nurseries, garden centers, and farm stores will begin offering them at that time; therefore, you can start planting as soon as you find them.

When you purchase asparagus plants, you will most likely receive one-year-old crowns.

This reduces the amount of time that must pass before asparagus are ready for harvesting. Modern hybrid asparagus are far simpler to cultivate than their heirloom counterparts.

They have an appearance that is a little strange and gangly, almost like spiders, and they might not even look like they are living; yet, if you plant them in the ground, they will shortly emerge.

growing asparagus In Raised Beds from the seed?

You could do that, but finding asparagus crowns is far simpler than finding asparagus seeds, and your chances of success are much higher if you start with crowns.

Not to mention that old-world cultivars such as Martha Washington and Mary Washington are more challenging to cultivate than enhanced F1 hybrids such as Jersey Knight and Millennium. Both of these cultivars are also available as seeds. Continue reading.

These contemporary hybrid varieties require less effort to plant. Because they are bred to be predominantly male (which means the plants don’t waste energy on producing seeds and baby plants), they make nearly twice as many spears per plant. In addition, planting these varieties does not require as much time. They also have a propensity for keeping their tips compact, even if you harvest them a little later than usual.

Only 25 to 30 plants are required to provide enough food for a family of four when you use potent hybrids such as those found in the Jersey series (Jersey Knight, Jersey Supreme, and Jersey Giant) unless you adore asparagus or have plans to preserve it by pickling or freezing it, the more of it you buy, the better.

In any other case, the standard advice for cultivating an open-pollinated asparagus variety (such as Martha Washington) is up to 10 plants per person; hence, you would need a significant amount of land to dedicate to a single crop.

How to prepare a raised bed for planting asparagus

When it has become well-established in its new location, asparagus does not appreciate being transplanted again. Find a nice site in your garden that is permanent (bearing in mind that asparagus ferns can grow up to 5 feet tall in a single season), and plant your asparagus there so that you won’t have to transplant the entire crop later.

After the average date of the last frost in your area has passed and the soil has become workable, you can begin planting asparagus.

In the event that the crowns appear and feel a little bit brittle, which is typically the case with store-bought asparagus that is exhibited in a large basket or tub, rehydrate the crowns by soaking them in a pail of water before planting them in the ground. You are able to do this while you are preparing the soil; however, you should not leave the crowns submerged in water for more than an hour, as doing so will promote rot.

Read Also: How Deep Do Asparagus Roots Grow In Soil?

Soil preparation

soil preparation for growing asparagus in raised beds
Preparing the soil

To prevent mature asparagus plants from casting unwanted shadows on other vegetables in the garden during the summer months, select a planting spot on the western or northern side of the garden.

You should begin with soil that drains effectively and is approximately 8 inches below the lip of your bed.

Because of this, the height of your raised bed needs to be at least 12 inches so that the roots have room to expand, but if you want harvesting to be easier, I recommend making a bed up to 24 inches high. (The height of my asparagus bed is thirty-six inches! And my back always thanks me for it in the following season.)

The area should be free of weeds, and then You should work 2 inches of well-aged compost into the soil.

Incorporate an all-purpose organic fertilizer while following the instructions on the container. Organic fertilizer with higher quantities of phosphate and potassium is the ideal option if you can locate such a product. (The P and K values found in NPK are as follows.)

Due to the fact that phosphorus encourages robust root growth, this nutrient is particularly vital for asparagus in the early spring. Potassium is essential to the growth of good crops because it enables the plants to form stems that are more robust (the part we eat, otherwise known as asparagus spears).

In addition, before planting, I like to mix in some kelp meal. This organic amendment includes both growth hormones and trace minerals that cannot be found in NPK fertilizers, and they both contribute to the healthy development of roots and shoots.

To ensure that your plants get off to a healthy start, I recommend giving them a dosage of kelp meal and either this particular fertilizer from Dr Earth or this special fertilizer from Jobe’s Organics (it doesn’t matter what they’re named; look at the ingredients).

Planting

Suppose you plant asparagus on a raised bed. In that case, you won’t have to do any of the laborious tasks recommended by the majority of asparagus planting guidelines, such as digging trenches and making mounds.

Spread the roots around the crowns and space them out at 12 inches from each other.

Make sure the crown is positioned with the top pointing up. The asparagus will develop from the small nub that rests atop the plant’s roots; this is where it will start. Sometimes there will even be the beginnings of little tiny spears already emerging.

You should place about a third of an inch of dirt over the asparagus.

When the asparagus begins to develop, and the spears reach a height of a few inches, add another three inches of dirt to the bed. This will get you to the top of the bed; the crown should be buried six inches below the surface at this point. After that, use a layer of mulch that is two inches thick to keep the weeds at bay for the remainder of the growing season.

Watering

The first two years of an asparagus plant’s life require consistent irrigation (about 1 to 2 inches of water per square foot per week). After they have become established, the plants only require one inch of water per week.

The older the plants get, the more tolerant of drought they get, and in most cases, they are able to thrive with only rainwater as their source of water (unless you live in a dry, hot climate).

Fertilizing

The fertilization process for asparagus is unique in that it takes place twice: first at the beginning of the season, before the first shoots develop, and again in the middle of the season, in June or July, after harvesting has been completed. This encourages the fronds to grow in a lush and healthy manner, which in turn promotes large production in the following year.

When growing asparagus in raised beds, you may maintain a high level of available nutrients in the soil by applying the same organic fertilizer that you worked into the soil during the initial stage of preparation (try one of these from Dr. Earth or Jobe’s Organics). In the summer, I like to supplement the soil with bone meal or rock phosphate in order to restore the levels of phosphorus.

How To Store asparagus crowns For the Future?

Open the box so the asparagus crowns can breathe, and store them in a cool, dark area for up to a week if you don’t plan on planting them right away. If you received a shipment of asparagus crowns in the mail but aren’t ready to plant them right away, open the box so the crowns can breathe.

If you need to keep the crowns for longer than a week, you have a few options available to you, depending on how much space you have and how quickly you need them.

Use Moist Towels

Wrap the bundles in slightly moist kitchen towels or newspapers for short-term storage. You can do this for a week or so. Later stow the crowns away in a cool, dark spot like a pantry, closet, or basement.

If you need to store the bundles for a longer period of time, you can also wrap them in moist towels or newspapers. You can also place them in a plastic bag loosely secured. Put the bag in a refrigerator. he asparagus can last for weeks.

The asparagus will continue to live even if it begins to sprout during this time period, provided that it does not become overly dry.

Temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels between 85 and 90 percent are considered ideal.

Caring For Asparagus Crowns

It is important to prevent them from becoming moldy or rotten by preventing excess moisture from accumulating on them.

In the event that the roots appear and feel dry, mist them with water on a regular basis and plant the cuttings as soon as you can.

It is better to get the crowns in the ground temporarily if your dedicated asparagus bed isn’t ready for a while, as this will allow you to harvest asparagus sooner.

You can plant them closer together than is customary (between 6 and 8 inches) and then transplant the asparagus the following spring while they are still dormant.

When you lift the roots to transplant them into their permanent bed, do so carefully.

When asparagus be ready to harvest?

For the first growing season, you should not harvest any asparagus in raised beds. (I am aware that it is appealing.)

The following year, after you have planted them, you will be able to get a very meagre yield (just one or two spears per plant, over a three- to four-week period).

After that year, when your plants are three years old, you may begin harvesting asparagus consistently throughout the harvest season, which lasts approximately six weeks (sometimes up to eight weeks).

When harvesting is kept to a minimum, the crowns are allowed to become more prolific. Doing this during the first two years of new planting and throughout the plant’s lifetime.

It may seem unorthodox from what you know about vegetables. With vegetables, the more (and more frequently) you pick, the longer your crop will produce as is the case with growing kale.

It was well worth the wait! When growing asparagus in raised beds, fronds are given the opportunity to unfurl. They continue growing over the first two years of the plant’s life.

The growth enables the plants to take in a greater quantity of light.

All of that energy is then sent toward feeding the roots of the plants. The asparagus can then build a robust root system the following year. Good roots are necessary for producing an abundant crop of spears.

How exactly does one go about gathering asparagus?

When your asparagus spears have reached a height of 5 to 7 inches, and just before the tips begin to loosen, it is time to harvest them. (As soon as the ends get unfastened, the spears become brittle and fibrous.) To gather the spears, merely sever them above the surface of the soil by cutting or breaking them.

As soon as your asparagus in raised beds are established, in its third year, you can begin harvesting. Harvesting can continue until the bed produces only slender spears (less than half an inch in diameter).

Do not throw away edible items that are of high quality.

When you reach this point, which often occurs in the late spring or early summer, you should let the spears develop normally. They can reach heights of up to three to five feet and have foliage that is feathery, fern-like, and lacy. You will significantly improve your harvest in the following spring if they are in better health.

How should I get the asparagus Bed ready for the winter?

After the fronds have turned brown in the autumn, you have the choice of either:

Allow the dead leaves to remain throughout the winter (cut them down in early spring before new growth appears).

You might also prune the plants before winter. Pruning helps so that the dead foliage at the base of the plants is removed. This will prevent pests such as asparagus beetles from hibernating in the dead foliage.

Adding old foliage to your compost pile is not worthwhile if you have a problem with pests or illnesses during the growing season. Home compost heaps do not become hot enough to eliminate eggs and pathogens.

During winter, you can either mulch the bed or leave the asparagus bed naked. If there is sufficient snowfall, it will cover and insulate the crowns of the asparagus plants throughout the winter.

Mulching is the best alternative if you experience an early spring thaw followed by temperatures below freezing. It will protect the crowns from frost heave. You can use any organic mulch, straw, dried leaves, wood chips, or pine straw (pine needle mulch).

Spread between 4 and 6 inches of mulch across the bed. When the last chance of frost has passed in your region, move the mulch out of the way. It makes it easier for the asparagus spears to emerge earlier. (Don’t worry if you forget to do this). The asparagus will still grow right through the mulch; however, it will take them a little longer to emerge.

How long does it take Growing Asparagus In Raised Beds to maturity?

Suppose it is grown in the ideal conditions and given the attention it needs. In that case, asparagus can live for at least ten years and typically between twenty and thirty years.

One comment

  1. Good article, especially for beginners. I love fresh home grown asparagus. We had a long fence row that was already planted in our old house.. Moved, so about 10 years ago we added a 4×16 raised bed and filled it with a great mix of compost and soil. Ordered and planted 2 varieties of crowns that were reccomend for our zone. Followed all the instructions for starting a bed from scratch and by year 3 we harvested about 3 lbs. Next year about 4. Loved the asparagus but we were dissapointed by the amount of space utilized and the short harvest/yield. Stuck with it for a few more years but eventually dug all the crowns up and gave them to friends. Most of my beds are succession planted to maximize yield. With a limited amount of space it just didn’t work for us. We are able to get a limited amount from friends and purchase from several local growers in season

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