Asparagus is a perennial plant from the Lily family, but it is an edible treat. However, you do have to have patience when you first start to grow asparagus, as it may not produce for up to 2 years. Once, it is producing you will have asparagus for many years to come!
Asparagus seeds can be sown but it is more commonly grown from a crown. Growing from seed can take even longer; approximately 3 years to start producing spears.
Asparagus is either male or female with the male varieties being more productive. Female varieties tend to use their energies for berries.
During Spring; late March-April, plant your crown directly. They are not suitable for container growing. Asparagus crowns need to be planted approximately 8 inches deep and spacing approximately 15 inches apart. It would be beneficial to prepare a trench approximately 12 inches wide if you have a few or several to plant. They like well-drained, sandy soil. You can treat the soil beforehand if you have heavier soil.
You can earth up a bit so that the soil covers the crown by a couple of inches.
The asparagus needs to be kept weed-free but take care when you are weeding due to the shallow roots of the asparagus. If you are growing a male variety, remove any female plants that appear. Remove any seedlings from female plants.
The asparagus plants grow tall and may need staking or a wind-break type enclosure surrounding it. It may also be worth mulching, especially before winter.
At the end of the first season during autumn, you should cut down the tall plant to approximately 3 inches from the ground.
During the following late Spring-Summer; May to June you can cut a few spears but then do not take any more. From the third year you will have plenty more to cut for approximately 8 weeks of the season and then every year thereafter.
Cut the asparagus spears from a few inches below the soil when the spear has reached approximately 4 inches.
You can blanch and freeze asparagus spears. However, like any vegetable they are best served freshly cooked.