The main reason for growing Asparagus on raised beds is one of good drainage. Asparagus is not too particular as to soil type - light or heavy - but it should always have good drainage. Commercially, Asparagus is normally grown in light or silt soils that have drainage trenches around the production fields.
There is no problem in growing asparagus on the flat bed - as long as it is well-drained and does not at any time become waterlogged - summer or winter.
There is so much mystique surrounding the growing of asparagus that many gardeners are put off growing this valuable vegetable crop. Its main requirement is 'time'. Patience also helps for it takes about three years of growing to get useful crops. Unlike most other vegetables, asparagus is a perennial and not simply dug up each year and then sown again the following year.
The fact that it is perennial and has attractive foliage means that it can
be used as a dual purpose plant if required. There is nothing to stop it
being planted in perennial or shrub bed for added interest. However, as
it is happiest in full sun, then a special bed is where it will be more
A nice crop of tender asparagus
Asparagus prefers a light well drained soil, though most garden soils can be adapted. In heavy damp soils it is best to plant them on slightly raised beds or mounds. As it is a long term crop, best to well-prepare the soil with added compost before planting.
Asparagus can be grown easily from seed, or for quicker maturity and production, you can buy asparagus crowns. These are simply one year old fleshy root bundles.
The crowns can be planted in spring at a distance of about 30-35cm apart and at a depth of not more than 5cms. A slightly mounded ridge is ideal.
It is not the seed bearing quality that is different the females tend to have plumper spears, and they will live just as long as the male plants if not allowed to seed themselves otherwise over the years they will become weaker after producing all those seeds.
Bought-in crowns tend to be all male plants which have been specifically bred for that purpose.
Keep the beds clear of weeds but not with a hoe! The fleshy roots are easily damaged. Let the foliage die down naturally in the autumn - don't cut before then. However, it is a good idea to support the waving fronds to avoid root rock. Allow plenty of space either side of the bed for the foliage to spread out and take in the sun.
Year 3 onwards, you take all the spears as they emerge. Allow them to grow 15cms then cut them off just below ground level. The harvest period is for the three months April to June. After that, allow the spears to develop into the life supporting foliage fronds.
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