If you’re wondering how to plant asparagus from the grocery store, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through the steps of starting your asparagus from seed or from a crown, as well as tips for protecting your plant from beetles. After that, you can read about how to care for your asparagus plant.
Growing asparagus from crowns
If you want to grow your own asparagus, you have two options: grow the vegetable from seed or from crowns. Seeds take at least two years to mature, while crowns require only one year to mature. The advantage of growing asparagus from crowns is that you can harvest the first year’s crop. Crowns are also more cost-effective than seeds.
Asparagus is hardy in USDA hardiness zones three to eight. It grows best in soil with a pH of six to seven and plenty of moisture. However, late spring frosts can cause the plant to lose its spears. This is why a few tips are essential for growing your own asparagus.
First, prepare the soil. Arrange a 4-foot bed and sprinkle it with organic fertilizer. Add compost or well-composted manure to the top six inches of soil. Then, mulch the bed well. Make sure to fertilize your asparagus bed a year before you want to harvest it.
After fertilizing, you should plant the asparagus crowns. Plant each crown 12 to 18 inches apart. Make sure that the roots are spread out evenly. After planting, lightly cover the crowns with compost or topsoil. Water thoroughly after fertilizing. The asparagus crowns should be watered twice a week for the first five years.
Choose your asparagus varieties carefully. Some varieties are dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers grow on separate plants. In general, male crowns are more productive than female ones. The resulting spears are much sweeter and have less fibrous texture than their female counterparts.
While asparagus is a hassle-free perennial plant, it can suffer from pests and diseases. If infestations occur, it can be time-consuming and costly to fix. You may need to buy new crowns if the infestation persists. You can also use natural predators to help get rid of the pests.
The best time to start growing asparagus from crowns is early spring. Asparagus grows best in full sun. It needs about eight hours of sunlight per day. It does not grow well under tall shrubs or trees as they will shade the plants and compete for nutrients.
Protecting asparagus plants from beetles
The asparagus beetle can be a major problem in the garden, especially in early spring when the spears are just starting to appear. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the spears, leaving the asparagus weakened and withered. Asparagus beetles can lay hundreds of eggs on the spears, so protecting your asparagus is important. These larvae will eventually pupate and emerge as adult beetles. Asparagus beetles will feed on the spears for a week or two before they fall to the ground to feed. The adult asparagus beetles do not harm the asparagus plant, but they may be harmful to humans.
You can use insecticides to control the population of asparagus beetles. These chemicals are effective against adults, but they also kill beneficial parasites and predators. However, be careful about using these chemicals as they may harm pollinating insects. Some of the most effective pesticides for asparagus beetles include Rotenone and Pyrethrum.
Once you see beetles on your asparagus plants, you should take action to eradicate them. It’s important to catch the insects early, before they lay eggs. You can use a garden spade to scoop up the eggs and dump them into a container of soapy water. Once the eggs are off the asparagus, they should not hatch. Using a hose is also an effective way to kill these pests. Set the nozzle to “jet” or “stream” to spray the beetles away from the asparagus.
You can also apply neem oil to your asparagus plants to repel the pest. Neem oil works as a natural insect repellent and will not kill the beetles. It’s not recommended for consumption, but it’s effective. Just be sure to use pure neem oil.
While you’re protecting your asparagus plants, make sure to check them at least once a week for beetles. They usually feed on asparagus spears and leave scarring and browning behind. To find these pests, check your plants in the afternoon. If you notice any, you can pick them off the plants or treat them with a pesticide.
Care of asparagus plants
Caring for asparagus plants is relatively easy. In the spring and fall, weed the beds thoroughly and fertilize them according to the soil test results. Trim off the foliage a few inches above ground to avoid disease. Asparagus plants need one inch of water a week. In addition, weed the beds regularly and mulch them.
Insects and diseases affecting asparagus plants are common. Red asparagus beetles, asparagus rust, and fusarium crown and root rot can all compromise the health of your plants. While most varieties of asparagus are resistant to rust, you should remove any plants infected with these pests and replace them with new plants. It is also a good idea to cover the plants with mulch and newspaper when freezing nights are predicted.
Once you’ve planted your asparagus plants, you should wait to harvest them for the first few years. The first few years of growth are best left unharvested, as the young spears need a chance to grow out and form “ferns.” After that, you can harvest them sparingly. As the plants continue to grow, you should fertilize them during the spring and late summer as they grow.
To start harvesting your asparagus plants, cut the foliage to about two inches. This is best done after the first frost, or when the foliage starts to turn yellow. Then, plant them on the north side of the bed so they don’t shade other plants. To boost their root growth, you can apply compost, rock phosphate powder, or rotten manure to the soil. You can also remove any weeds that are growing in the bed before you plant the asparagus plants. You can also prepare the beds in the fall so that they can be planted early in the spring.
When it comes to caring for asparagus plants, it is important to distinguish between male and female plants. Male plants are more productive and will produce more spears in the spring. Female asparagus plants, on the other hand, are eaten by birds. There are several varieties of asparagus plants available in grocery stores and online. The Jersey and Millennium varieties are two good choices. Both varieties require about eight hours of full sun each day and a well-drained site.