Introduction

Asparagus is a perennial plant which multiplies readily through the root system. It will thrive for many years with little care. It grows well in areas that do not have a mild winter. Asparagus is a tender and mild tasting vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. It is harvested from early to late spring. As summer arrives, the stalks should be allowed to grow to allow the development of the root system for future crops. The leaves will eventually open to a fern-like form.

Growing Asparagus

Propagation: Usually planted from small plugs. Sometimes seeds can be used but it will take up to 3 years to start producing.
Yields/ha: Unknown.
Full production: Depends on which planting system is used – seeds or plants.
Soil type: Asparagus likes loose and slightly sandy soil that is rich in organic material. The soil should drain well. While they will grow in clay, it is harder for them to spread their roots and push the tender stalks out of the soil. Ideal pH 6.0–8.0
Fertilisers: NPK fertiliser application could be used.
Weed control: For successful growing of this crop it is important to keep plant beds free of weeds.
Pest/Diseases: Aphids, cutworms, root rots and rust.
Harvesting: Cut young shoots off with a sharp knife, just below the surface of the soil. They should be picked when they are several inches long, and the stalk is still tender. You can cut all stalks that appear for about two to three weeks. After this time, the plant needs to be allowed to grow.
Marketing: There is potential for selling Asparagus on both the export and local market. Contacts made through the Vegetable Growers Federation should help exports into Asia.

Further Information

Wikipedia article

Asparagus online – Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board

Disease control in asparagus – Sustainable Farming Fund research project

Internet searches yield a wealth of information on growing and cooking asparagus.