As a perennial vegetable, you’ll be able to look forward to its early appearance each spring. Once your plants are established, you don’t want weeds getting the best of them. Clean the weeds away by hand, taking care to not disturb the roots will encourage vigorous growth. The size of the garden bed is at your discretion and depends on how many plants you want to put in. Each plant may send up 15 to 20 spears when it matures. You can always add more plants to the garden in the future if you feel you need more.
Start by purchasing 1-year-old asparagus crowns, which are the roots of the plant. When ready to plant, dig a trench of about 6-8 inches deep – and set the crowns flat in the trench about a foot away from each other. Cover with 2″ of soil – and spread a little 10-10-10 fertilizer, about a teaspoon per plant on top. Don’t put the fertilizer directly on the roots as it will burn them. As the plant grows keep covering it with an inch or two of soil – but do not bury the stalk – (and add a tsp of fertilizer each layer) until at the end of the first season the soil is level with the top of the trench. Adding the soil a bit at a time as the plant grows forces it to grow strong before the foliage appears.
Water weekly if it doesn’t rain, keeping the soil slightly moist and cut no asparagus shoots the first year allowing the foliage to grow. It is very important to enrich the plot with compost or manure. It is also important to note before going any further that the work that goes into establishing an asparagus bed won’t offer any good eating for the first two years, but once an asparagus bed is established, it can produce for decades, so care at the beginning will pay off in quality and quantity in the future.
When the asparagus is mature (year 3) and ripe for eating (stalks are about 6 -12 inches high), just snap where they begin to be tender and enjoy. When you stop harvesting the asparagus depends on the weather but six to eight weeks is a normal growing season.
Asparagus can be eaten raw directly from the garden or steamed until just barely soft. It is a significant source of Vitamins A and C. Asparagus grown in your own garden is infinitely preferable and much cheaper than any you can get at the grocery store.