Asparagus is a perennial crop and a great long-term plant for your garden. After nursing the crop for the first two years, you will begin to harvest this delicious vegetable for up to 25 years. The delicious, tender young spears are available mid-spring to early summer and are just now poking their heads out of the ground in the Bluegrass Region. Asparagus is best when picked and eaten fresh from the garden. The foliage of the plant makes a great “wispy” addition to the back of your garden or along the back of a perennial bed.
Now is the time to start a new asparagus bed and it is very important to start with a weed free area. Asparagus thrives in well-drained soil that is none acidic. You can sow seeds, but it will be three to four years before you will be able to harvest. The best way to start a new bed is to plant one to two year old asparagus roots into your prepared spot. Remember, you want a spot that will be permanent because this plant will be around for a long time.
The dormant crowns of asparagus are best planted in small trenches in the early spring. Plant them 8” deep and 18” apart. Cover with compost or good garden soil. Keep the bed clean of weeds throughout the year, but be careful not to damage the roots and newly emerging spears. After the second year, you can harvest a few spears, but by the third and fourth years, you can harvest as much as you want. Just remember to leave a few spears to go to seed in order to supply energy for the next year’s crop.