How to Plant Asparagus in a Raised Bed
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Over the weekend, I planted a bed of asparagus up at the cabin. It’s something I’d wanted to plant for years, but had never had the room for. Being a fan of all things simple, I opted to plant my asparagus in a raised bed. It’s by far the easiest approach. Here’s how I’d recommend planting it.
When you order asparagus plants, you’ll typically receive one-year-old crowns with bareroots, like you see here. They don’t look like much. In fact, they don’t even look like they’re alive. But get them in the ground, and they’ll quickly prove themselves.
Asparagus plants are only available in the spring, so if you’re thinking about planting some this year, you need to get your order in soon. Like strawberries and peas, they can go in the ground as soon as the soil is workable.
Most asparagus planting guides call for digging trenches, making hills and doing all sorts of complicated soil prep, but if you plant your asparagus in a raised bed, you can skip all of that nonsense.
Each asparagus crown needs one foot of growing space. I wanted to plant 20 asparagus plants, so that meant I needed a 20-square-foot bed. That could have been configured any number of ways, but I opted for a 2’x10’x1′ bed. I just figured that would keep everything easy to reach.
Our friends had offered us some leftover lumber a while back, so that’s what we used to build our raised bed. Always stick to untreated wood for food beds. You don’t want chemicals to leach into your foods.
Since asparagus doesn’t like to compete with weeds, we bought bags of soil for our raised bed. It was a bit of an investment (we spent $80), but asparagus plants typically produce for 25-30 years, so I figure it’ll pay off over the long haul.
Most of today’s asparagus crowns need to be planted six-inches deep. To plant them in a raised bed, just fill the bed with six inches of soil (half way, if your bed is a foot deep).
Then, lay the crowns a foot apart, and spread the roots out around them, like you see here. Just to be super clear (because a lot of planting guides aren’t): the crown is that little nub that sits just above the roots. It’s where the asparagus will grow from. You want to make sure it’s facing up when you lay the plants out in your bed.
Finish by covering your asparagus plants with two inches of soil.
As the asparagus grows, continue to add soil, until you’ve added a total of six inches of soil. This will take you to the top of your bed, if it’s a foot deep, like mine. Add mulch, to help keep the weeds down.
Asparagus takes three years to reach maturity. Do not harvest any asparagus stalks the first year, no matter how tempted you may be. You can take a small harvest the second year, if you’d like, but be careful not to overdo it. In year three and beyond, you can harvest as much as you’d like.
To Maximize Your Harvest
Choose an all-male variety. I planted Jersey Knight Hybrid. Since it’s an all-male variety, it’ll put all of its energy into producing stalks of asparagus. This particular variety is also supposed to maintain tight tips, even if you’re a little slow to harvest it. Since were only at our cabin part-time, this sounded ideal for us. I’m anxious to see how it goes.
When to Plant Asparagus
Plant your asparagus in early spring, after the last average frost for your area has passed.
Companion Plants for Asparagus
To Deter Pests, Plant Your Asparagus With …
They’ll repel asparagus beetle.
To Maximize Your Garden Space, Plant Your Asparagus With …
To Improve Growth and Flavor, Plant Your Tomatoes With …
Do Not Plant Asparagus With …
How Much Asparagus Should I Plant?
Plant 10-12 asparagus plants per person in your household. Plant more, if you plan to freeze or can it for later.
where did you order it from?
Hi Diann, I ordered my asparagus from Henry Fields. I tend to order my plants from them, Burpee, Gurney’s and Burgess. Just whoever has the best deal at the time.
I planted asparagus for the first time in 2015 and have been anxiously awaiting the three year mark when they should be established enough to begin harvesting!
But I have already learned 2 hard lessons. My plants are definiety NOT all male. The berries look nice but I have new plants starting everywhere! Also, I should have planted much further from my main garden to let the plants naturally spread.
Hoping my mistakes are of help to someone else!
Thank you for always offering such good advice! I would like to add that voles, mice and any other underground pest will attack your asparagus. I have my asparagus in raised beds . After realizing that the ground rodents had a feast on the tuberous roots I dug out the raised bed and added hardware cloth (wire) underneath. I no longer have a problem with them. Also, Asparagus will not produce well if they have to compete with weeds or water. Enjoy the harvest!!
Great tip. It makes complete sense to add a piece of hardware cloth to the bottom of the raised bed to keep moles and voles from damaging the asparagus.
Where can I purchase Jersey Knight Hybrid asparagus. I’m a first time home planter and enjoyed your article.
You can buy asparagus crowns from just about any seed company — Burpee, Gurney’s, Henry Field’s, etc. But you probably won’t find anyone that has it in stock this time of year, since it’s something you’ll want to plant in the spring. You may be able to sign up with one of the seed companies to receive a notification when they have their asparagus back in stock.
Planted my first Asparagus crowns about two weeks ago, and already have two shoots popping up.
My questions are:
1) Should I fill in the new shoots as soon I see them or let them grow a little?
2) Do I completely cover them with soil or just add soil around them to build the remaining 4 inches?
Hi Eric, It’s fine to let them grow a bit, and to leave the tops poking out of the soil. The main thing is get another four inches of soil in the bed as they grow, so that the asparagus ends up being six inches deep.
I live in Zone 4 (ND) and am planning on planting asparagus in a raised bed (that I have not yet built).
I already have two 2’x8′ raised beds in my garden and wanted to plant a third to grow half Strawberries and half Asparagus. My question, is can I use a 2 foot raised bed? Or will that be too tall to provide freeze protection to the perennial during out cold winters?
I know I need to get this going soon, but how late can you plan Asparagus?
You still have some time to get your asparagus planted. It looks like April 15-May 1 is the recommended time frame for your zone. And I think they’ll do great in your two foot deep beds. Asparagus needs to be in well draining soil, so if you plant them to the recommended depth, you’ll have some soil underneath them for the water to drain through.
Saw your comment on the freeze protection…how did it work? Im also in ND & was going to put asparagus in this year.