Asparagus is a Level Zero garden treasure.

🙂LEVEL ZERO ESSENTIAL INFO:
🌿A permanent plant in the same bed for 5 years.
🌿The part we eat are new Spring shoots.
🌿Edible shoots come from a group of buds under the surface called a ‘crown’.
🌿More crowns form as the clump gets bigger.
🌿After 5 years, we dig up the clump, seperate new crowns and replant them to rejuvenate them.

It isn’t fussy, will likely grow without attention and pop up every Spring to remind you that you are still kicking goals.

>> Good for at least 5 years <<

THE GOOD NEWS: Asparagus is a perennial plant, which is different to the annual plants we grow that shoot, fruit, seed and die each year. Asparagus will live on and survive on very little, but if you want great harvests and do nix for it for a full five years, you can plan now to give these babies enough food and entertainment to last all that time, with just minor topup snacks in winter if you choose.

{psst.. if you are curious as to what happens after 5 years, then jump over to see Dividing Asparagus.}

>> Step 1: Make space <<

This step depends on where you intend to plant your asparagus. If it is in a new raised bed, then start with it mostly empty, or dig the row space down by about 30cm to start. In open ground, dig a trench about 1-2 feet wide and as long as you want the crowns to go, given they are planted about 40cm apart. Even just one plant in a pot on a balcony will use this method.

Plenty of space for hungry asparagus to thrive over at least 5 years.

>> Step 2: Think lasagne <<

THE BOTTOM LINE: We need a deep super-thick bed of organic material that these plants can stick their toes in and feast on for five years straight, but still keep the crown up higher than the roots so that water doesn’t soak and rot them.

Enter the asparagus lasagne – not the eating kind – the garden kind. It is a bit different to what most folks do but we find for beginner gardeners, it packs a punch and lasts the whole five years with no more fuss.

If you are super keen of course, there are always more ‘Level-Up’ options like incorporating Hugelkultur or Bandicoot Trenching but those stories are for another day.

The ideal planting plan for asparagus
The ideal 5 year planting lasagne for Asparagus.

BOTTOM LAYER: 💩🦨🦴

The bottom layer of the trench is the rich stuff – manure of any kind 💩 or pelletised Dynamic Lifter 🦨 or Blood n Bone 🦴.

MIDDLE LAYER: 🍁🍂🌿 🥑💐🍄

The middle layer is the thickest – 30cm + of as much organic STUFF as you can pack in – we mostly use fallen leaves because we have so many after Autumn (⚠️NOT eucalyptus or pine needles), but you can also use garden scraps (⚠️NOT lawn clippings), kitchen scraps, old flowers, twigs, mushroom compost. This is what the crowns will eat for the next five years, so be generous. It will look like a lot but remember that it will all decompose and compact so really pack it in there. If you have access to fresh woodfire ash, then do add some of that and mix in too, or otherwise some garden lime, so that all that organic bulk doesn’t end up too acidic. Just a few handfuls per plant space. It’s not vital, but helpful.

TOP LAYER: 🗻👑🤎🌾

This requires a mound of soil on top of the organics, so that the crown sits up above the roots, which have their toes down in the good stuff. Even when the whole lot compacts, the drainage will still work for us. Back fill over that with soil so that the crown is covered, and water the whole lot in to remove any large air pockets. This will be the last time you water them before they sprout in Spring. Top dress with a fist depth-ish of straw (any kind) and say goodnight. That’s it.

Crowns sitting on top of the soil mound, with leaves beneath.

NOTE THAT THE CROWNS ABOVE SEEM PLANTED UP QUITE HIGH
but all those organics underneath will decompose and compact, and the whole bed height will reduce sink. Each year, we top dress with more organics and straw, which effectively buries the crowns deeper each year.

>> Step 3: No Touchy!<<

There is just one down side to this delicious perennial marathon, and that is the asparagus have taken a hit and been disrupted in the planting, and whether freshly divided, or bought from a nursery and hence still very young, they will need a rest. This coming Spring they WILL sprout, but please just let them grow their fronds fully this year, to settle, grow new roots, and get one growing cycle in before we harvest. In Autumn, the fronds will turn golden again, and can be cut off ready to tuck in for another sleep.

When you are ready to Level Up, see more of our
>> Asparagus stories, here <<

Look wide; grow well, folks 🌿
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