Asparagus is a vegetable that is harvested in the spring. White, green, purple or violet, it is very popular in gastronomy. It remains quite expensive on our stalls, so it is interesting to be able to produce your own asparagus and enjoy its benefits for the body while having fun in terms of taste. Contrary to popular belief, it can be grown by amateur gardeners without much experience. You just have to respect certain conditions to successfully plant it and harvest, after three years, your first asparagus from the garden.
Plant asparagus claws
A very hardy vegetable plant, asparagus can be grown in all our regions, whatever their climate. The roots, which are more precisely called the claws emit turions comestibles more frequently called asparagus. If these buds are not harvested, they develop into stems. But before being able to taste the first asparagus grown in the garden, you have to show great patience.
Although it can be satisfied with good garden soil, asparagus is ideally grown in a sandy soil, therefore very loose and light which greatly facilitates the harvest and that the sun heats up very quickly. The floor should also be riche and perfectly drained. This plant hates damp and cold soil. Able to acclimatize to the shade, asparagus still prefers to enjoy a beautiful sunshine.
The planting period for asparagus claws is between February and April, but it is necessary to anticipate. The soil must be prepared in October or November so that the asparagus garden can last for a good ten years at least. We therefore proceed as follows:
- Digging trenches to a depth and width of 30 cm, and space them 1.70 to 2 m apart,
- Place the extracted soil on the space that separates two trenches because it will be used later,
- Work the bottom in order to loosen the soil well which should not however be turned over,
- Place an organic fertilizer rich in potash and phosphorus on the bottom of the trenches as well as manure or compost.
- Create mounds 8 cm high in the trenches using the waste soil left in the queue,
- Space the mounds 70 cm apart,
- Place a stake approximately every 100 cm, in order to identify the location of the plants,
- Cut the ends of damaged roots then, to promote healing, sprinkle the claws with crushed charcoal,
- Place a claw at the foot of each stake, taking care to spread the roots without damaging them,
- Cover the asparagus claws with a thickness of 7 and 8 cm of sandy soil.
Some time later, when planting time has finally arrived, all that remains is:
The plants will gradually grow.
From the end of winter, which finally precedes the long-awaited moment of harvest (i.e. at least 3 years after the setting up of the claws), it is necessary to intervene differently according to the variety of asparagus cultivated. Thus, for green asparagus and purple asparagusit is necessary to install above the rows one plastic tunnel so that the claws are stimulated by the heat. The spears will develop more quickly and will take on their beautiful color without any problem while retaining their very tender consistency. About the white asparagusyou have to realize a mound 26 to 30 cm high above the rows of asparagus. This keeps them in complete darkness, which is essential for them to be white.
Maintaining your asparagus crop
For three years, it is necessary to carry out a cultivation management respecting the following points.
- 1time year : let the plant develop then, in November, top the stems about fifteen centimeters from the ground.
- 2th year : mound the beds of asparagus in March to a height of 25 to 30 cm, level the ground in autumn and top off the stems again at 15 cm from the ground.
- 3th year : in March mound the beds at a height of 50 cm after having cut the stem residues at ground level, and in October, level the ground.
From the 4th year then the following years it is necessary to continue to mound its rows of asparagus in March then to level the ground after the harvest and to cut the stems.
It must be understood that the successive ridges are intended to lengthen the path of the spears to reach the light so that they too are longer and longer…
Asparagus only needs to be watered during the summer period or during a severe drought, whatever the season. Otherwise, the rains are enough for him. Drip irrigation should be preferred. In order to control the growth of weeds but also to limit watering, it is advisable to hoe the soil on the surface.
This is a task that must be carried out as regularly as possible so that the asparagus beds are of a impeccable cleanliness. No weed must be able to resist the onslaught of the hoe.
Every year, in the spring, you can add fertilizer such as complete fertilizer or mature compost.
Pests and diseases
The larva of leaf beetle (a beetle) feeds on the foliage of asparagus and causes red spears. Heat and humidity favor the attacks of the asparagus fly that can be combated with biological products by strictly respecting the conditions of use. Better to react without waiting because this fly digs galleries in the shoots of asparagus, which causes them to dry out. It is imperative to burn all the parts affected by these two parasites and the beetles can be removed manually so that they stop infesting the asparagus garden.
About the rustit is treated with a sulfur-based product.
Finally, one can sometimes deplore the spear blackening who remain puny and curl up. No disease is causing these symptoms. The only culprit is the cold.
Harvest the asparagus
From planting, three years run out before the first harvest which takes place from the beginning of the second half of April. It is not very abundant. The harvest increases in the fourth year of cultivation, but the better yields are obtained between the 6th and the 12th year, then gradually decline. This is why we recommend renewing your plants after 15 years.
Under no circumstances should you rush and try to harvest your asparagus before the end of this 3-year period, as this would have a negative impact on the development of the plants. You have to give the stems time to grow. Fortunately, thereafter, the feet will produce spears every year. However, there is a solution for harvest faster after planting : buy claws cultivated for at least 2 years by a producer. This way you save a lot of time.
Harvesting is done using a asparagus gouge, a hand tool that allows you to find spears in depth without damaging them. One can just as well use a small plastic shovel like the one that children use at the beach to build beautiful sand castles. Hence the interest of growing asparagus in sandy soil… Too hard soil considerably increases the risk of breaking the asparagus stalks at harvest time.
The ideal is to cultivate several varieties of asparagus in order tospread the crops since there are asparagus early and others more or less late.
This plant can stay in place all year round and will produce delicious asparagus for a good fifteen years. But it should be noted that there are now hybrid male asparagus which guarantee a better yield and are even more resistant to cold than other varieties of asparagus. When buying claws to plant, it is useful to get good information from a producer or a gardening consultant.