Growing your own fruit and veggies is sometimes challenging, but we strongly suggest that you grow asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) in your home garden. It’s a perennial plant that produces high yield for three decades.
The asparagus plant looks really good, and it will make your garden look even more beautiful.
Asparagus is native to Western Europe, and it grows really well in cold or dry areas. It doesn’t thrive in Florida and the Gulf Coast because of all the moisture and high temperatures. Plant asparagus if you live in the USDA planting zones 2-8.
Grow asparagus from seeds
Start the seeds inside or in your greenhouse in mid-February to May. Asparagus seeds germinate under great light and soil temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees. Soak the seeds for 2 hours before the planting process.
How to plant the seeds?
Fill 3.5-inch pots with soil and place 2 seeds on the surface of the soil. Add a thin layer of sifted sand. Bottom watering works best. Keep the pots on a heated table to keep them warm. The soil should never dry out.
The seedlings should grow for 3 months. Transfer them when the weather gets warm. Plant the seedlings about 18 inches apart of rows that are 4 inches apart.
If your spears are thinner, keep them at 8-10 inches apart and 4 inches deep. If your spears are thicker, keep them at 12-14 inches apart and 6-8 inches deep. Cover the seedlings with soil. They need about an inch of water every week.
You can harvest the plant after three years. Let the plants grow in summer, and then trim it down to 2 inches in fall.
Grow asparagus from crowns
First, prepare your bed. Asparagus plants like sandy and loose soil with neutral pH values. The soil has to drain well too. If you combine asparagus with other veggies, keep it in the north or west side of the garden so it doesn’t shade other vegetables.
Add compost into the soil. Make 12-inch deep furrows in the bed. Add a cup of organic fertilizer in each furrow. Put loose dirt into cone-shaped piles about 6 inches tall at the bottom of each furrow. Leave 18 inches between the cones.
Place the asparagus crown on top of the dirt pile. Let the roots hang down over the dirt pile. Add a 1-inch layer of soil. The soil has to be moist all the time. Don’t overwater it though.
Remove any weeds, and add more soil as the plant grows. Keep doing this until the furrows are filled to ground level with the soil. Let the plant grow for 2 years.
Tips for higher yield
Asparagus grows well near tomatoes, and repels nematodes. Tomatoes repel asparagus beetles. Harvest your asparagus for four weeks in year three and for 6-8 weeks in year four.
Plant all-male varieties to get bigger yield. Mulch suppresses weeds. Soak crowns in compost tea before the planting process to give the plant enough energy.
Give the plant enough time to grow after the harvesting. Wait until the foliage turns yellow/brown, and cut the plant to 2 inches. Fertilize the crowns in spring and fall. Your fertilizer needs to contain fish, seaweed, and kitchen scraps. Use rock phosphate to trenches each year before planting new crowns.
Harvest and store your asparagus
Cut off spring shoots when they grow about 8 inches. Cut the plant below the soil line. Avoid plants that have developed foliage. Harvest your asparagus every other day. Asparagus plants produce from 2 to 8 weeks.
Harvest asparagus until the spear diameter reaches the size of a pencil.
Keep fresh asparagus in your fridge for a week. If you like to freeze it, make sure you blanch it for five minutes. Dry it and store it in freezer bags.
Asparagus is abundant in potassium, fiber, thiamin and vitamins A, B6, E, K, and C.
- Weight loss
Asparagus is packed with soluble and insoluble fiber. It’s low in calories and fat. Fiber keeps you full, and asparagus is a great option for those who need to lose weight. Combine it with healthy protein.
- Urinary tract
Asparagine is an amino acid in asparagus and it acts like a diuretic. Eat asparagus often to keep your urinary tract healthy. It will prevent infections and remove excess fluid and salt from your body.
- Immune system
Vitamin E keeps your immune system healthy and prevents free radical damage. Combine your asparagus with healthy fats to absorb this vitamin better.
Vitamin B6 and folate increase arousal, and vitamin E improves the production of sex hormones. Add this veggie to your romantic dinner.
Vitamin K eases the absorption of calcium and your bones need more of this mineral.
Folate reduces irritability, and tryptophan has an excellent impact on your mood.
1. Asparagus and tomato melt:
- 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cleaned
- extra-virgin olive oil
- fea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- basil (garnish)
First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. season your asparagus with salt and pepper, and drizzle over some olive oil. Spread the veggie on a baking sheet in one layer, and scatter your shredded mozzarella. Drizzle some olive oil over your cherry tomatoes, and season. Add them to the baking sheet.
Bake until your mozzarella has melted. This should take about 20 minutes.
Simmer your balsamic vinegar and honey into a small pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve you veggies and drizzle over your delicious glaze. Use fresh basil to make your dish look pretty.
2. Asparagus and orange salad
- 2 heads of Boston lettuce, torn
- 1 large red onion, sliced into rings
- 2 seedless oranges peeled and sliced
- 1 lb fresh asparagus spears, blanched
- Fresh lemon juice
- Oil and vinegar dressing
Add your ingredients to a bowl, and add the lemon juice over your salad. Drizzle your dressing over it.
3. Summer lemon pasta
- sea salt
- 1 lb gluten-free macaroni
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
- extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 lemons
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
Cook the pasta first. While it’s cooking, drizzle some olive oil over your asparagus, and grill it in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook it for 4 minutes on one side. Flip, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Cut the asparagus into 1-inch chunks.
Saute your butter, garlic and onion until soft. Add in your wine, the zest of a lemon, a tablespoon of lemon juice, pepper flakes and seasoning.
Bring the liquid to a boil, turn the heat on low and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Combine your pasta water, asparagus, cheese, parsley and pasta. Add more cheese and some parsley.