Gardening

How to plant asparagus

Asparagus officinalis

Asparagus or asparagus is a perennial plant that reaches from 30 cm to 1.5 m in height. It is the shoots that emerge from the earth in the spring that are harvested and used as food.

Climate

Asparagus or asparagus grows best in cold weather, but many cultivars withstand high temperatures, although sprout development can be impaired at temperatures above 30 ° C. The ideal is temperatures between 16 ° C and 24 ° C during the growing seasons, but with a cold winter.

Brightness

Asparagus can be grown in sunny places or in partial shade, as long as there is good light.

Ground

Cultivate in well-drained, light soil, without stones and other debris, moderately fertile and rich in organic matter. The plant grows better if the pH of the soil is above 6.5. Avoid compacted soil.

Irrigation

Irrigate in order to keep the soil moist, without remaining soggy. Asparagus is sensitive to both excess and lack of water.

Planting

Planting is usually done through seeds. In some places in the world where asparagus cultivation is traditional, there are specialized producers who sell plants that are one year old, the use of which has the advantage of allowing a faster start of the harvest, since it takes two or three years to start the harvest. harvest on plants grown from seeds.

The seeds are usually sown in the spring, in beds about 2.5 cm deep, with a spacing of 7 cm. Leaving the seeds in warm water for 1 day can hasten germination. In the following spring or at the end of winter (if your region does not have a very cold winter), before the plants start to sprout, remove the dry branches and dig up each plant carefully, to make the transplant to the final location, where they are buried. about 10 cm deep, with spacing of 30 to 40 cm between plants. Seedlings can be planted on ridges or hills to improve soil drainage.

The seeds can also be planted in sowing or modules in the spring, transplanting the seedlings to the final location in early summer.

It is possible to plant asparagus in large pots, but plants generally thrive less, productivity is not always satisfactory and plants survive for less time.

Cultivation

Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients, taking care not to damage the asparagus roots.

The wind can easily damage the plants, so there must be some protection or windbreak to protect the plantation.

Bleaching asparagus, when desired, can be done by covering the sprouts with soil, preventing them from receiving light. Another way is to build a black opaque plastic tunnel along the planting line.

Asparagus is normally a dioecious plant, that is, a plant that either produces female flowers or produces male flowers. Male plants are more productive, so only these are normally grown on commercial plantations. However, plants can also produce some hermaphrodite flowers.

Harvest

Asparagus sprouts are normally harvested in early spring, every year from the second or third year of planting, and can produce well for two decades or more in regions with a favorable climate and with good growing conditions. It is recommended that the harvest takes place only from the third year, as this allows the plant to develop better in the second year, generating greater productivity in the following years.

The shoots are harvested when they are 12 to 18 cm high, cutting the stems with a knife approximately 2.5 cm deep. Older shoots, which begin to “open”, become woody quickly.

In the third year it is possible to keep the sprouts harvest for 6 weeks. In the following years, if the plants continue to grow well, the harvest period can be extended to 8 weeks.

Small asparagus fruits should not be eaten, as they are toxic.

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