Where Is The Best Asparagus Grown
Edward R. Forte
June 20, 2022
This plant has been important to humans for thousands of years, used both for religious offerings and medicinal purposes.Recipes for asparagus dishes can be found in the oldest cookbook in existence, which dates back to the 3rd century AD.Today, asparagus is prepared in a variety of manners around the world from steamed to stir fried.Traditionally, salt has been added to asparagus planting areas to prevent weed growth.A section of the root is planted during the winter, and by spring, the asparagus is ready for harvest.China takes the spot for the number 1 asparagus producing country in the world.Some experts believe this production number is inflated given that the country only cultivated around 292,000 metric tons in 2014.Around 80% of this country’s total asparagus, harvest takes place in the following provinces: Shandong, Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, and Fujian.In fact, asparagus from the Caborca region is one of the biggest suppliers in the North American market. .
Asparagus: How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Asparagus
The edible part of the asparagus plant is the young stem shoot, which emerges as soil temperatures rise above 50°F (10°C) in spring.In addition, asparagus plants are fairly fast producers, sending up new spears every few days for a few weeks in the spring.The plant produces ½ pound of spears per foot of row in spring and early summer, so we think it’s definitely worth the wait. .
• U.S. asparagus production by state 2021
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How to Grow and Care for Asparagus
Common Name Asparagus Botanical Name Asparagus officinalis Family Asparagaceae Plant Type Perennial vegetable Mature Size 5 ft. tall, 3 ft. wide Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Sandy, loamy Soil pH Neutral to slightly acidic (6.5 to 7.0) Bloom Time Summer, fall Flower Color Pale yellow, greenish Hardiness Zones 4-9, USA Native Area Europe, Africa.Because asparagus is a perennial, you'll need to designate a place in the vegetable garden or, even better, build a separate bed.Heirloom varieties need extra space, as there are both male and female plants, meaning they will produce seeds and will self-sow.Newer hybrid varieties produce only male plants that don't have seeds, so they need a little less space, because they'll spread only through the growth of the existing crown.Asparagus roots form a tightly woven mat, which makes it challenging to remove weeds.Add mulch to the bed to control weeds, but avoid interplanting with other crops- asparagus dislike competition for nutrients.Work in plenty of organic matter and make sure the soil pH is in the neutral 6.5 to 7.0 range.When preparing your asparagus bed, add compost and an all-purpose organic fertilizer to the trench, as well as rock phosphate, a natural mineral powder that promotes root growth.The newer cultivars are bred to be all male, which means they will put all their energy into growing the plant, not setting seed.: The most commonly found variety; bred for rust-resistance 'Jersey Giant' : Yields early and is resistant to rust and fusarium wilt.The final product is smooth, white and virtually fiber-free, provided the harvested spears are immediately chilled to prevent the fiber from forming.Fronds will unfurl from the spears, creating the pretty, airy foliage that feeds the plant.In the fourth year, begin harvesting spears that are 5 to 7 inches long before the tip becomes loose (diameter doesn't matter).At this point, allow the plants to grow into their mature ferny foliage, which will feed the roots for next year's crop.Asparagus plants can continue producing for 20 to 30 years and can be divided or transplanted if they become overcrowded or could benefit from a move.You can remove the stalks in the fall or winter after the leaves have turned yellow and died back naturally.The advantage of early removal is that it prevents pests, such as asparagus beetles, from overwintering in the stalks.Leaving the stalks standing through the winter, on the other hand, has the advantage that the plant debris can hold snow, which protects the asparagus crowns in freezing temperatures.Fusarium wilt can be a problem with older varieties, but you can avoid it by planting resistant hybrid varieties. The biggest pest is the asparagus beetle. Keep watch for them as the spears emerge in spring.
9 Soil Tips for Growing Better Asparagus
It was sweet and juicy, and it snapped under my teeth with only the slightest hint of that sulfurous, grassy flavor that you often find in store-bought asparagus.Asparagus is a fairly unique vegetable because in a healthy mature patch, you harvest first and grow later.Asparagus is deep-rooted and prefers sandy, well-drained soil—areas that stay wet will rot the roots and invite disease.Composted manure, bone meal and rock phosphate are all good amendments to keep soil levels high in this nutrient.Invasive creepers, such as bermuda grass, bindweed, quack-grass and buttercup, are difficult to eradicate, but they’ll out-compete your asparagus stand and must be removed from the soil before planting.Keep your asparagus patch performing well by top-dressing every spring with 2 to 3 inches of composted manure, followed by a 2-inch layer of loose organic mulch.At the end of the growing year, cut down and hot compost or burn the fronds and clean up debris.Good sanitation and allowing hens access to forage for the beetle can help reduce a buildup of these pests.The fronds of mature asparagus can reach 5 feet or taller, making this plant a great option for the middle layer of a stacked perennial bed.To build soil fertility naturally, an established asparagus patch can be under-seeded with a low-growing, nitrogen-fixer cover crop, like crimson clover, and interplanted with phosphorus bio-accumulators, like yarrow.Soak seeds in cool water or dilute compost tea for 1 hour before sowing, then space 8 to 12 inches apart.Keep the soil warm, and as soon as seeds germinate, set pots under full-spectrum grow lights or in a bright, sunny window or greenhouse, depending on outdoor temperatures.Dig a shallow, 6-inch-deep trench 12 to 18 inches wide and soak crowns for 15 minutes in cool water or diluted compost tea.The first few years will require the right soil prep and a little babying to make sure the crop growing well, but after it’s established it’s a low-work culinary prize for the gourmet gardener. .
How to Grow Asparagus - Planting Asparagus
In the old days, gardeners were told to prepare an asparagus bed by digging an 18" deep trench and then backfilling it with a mix of compost and soil.The production increases are due to the fact that these hybrids are all-male cultivars, so no energy is wasted producing seeds.Even though asparagus can sometimes be spotted growing in a ditch among thick grass, the domesticated varieties won't survive. .
Sources differ as to the native range of Asparagus officinalis, but generally include most of Europe and western temperate Asia.Asparagus is a herbaceous, perennial plant growing to 100–150 centimetres (40–60 inches) tall, with stout stems with much-branched, feathery foliage.The 'leaves' are in fact needle-like cladodes (modified stems) in the axils of scale leaves; they are 6–32 millimetres (1⁄4–1+1⁄4 inches) long and 1 mm (1⁄32 in) broad, and clustered four to 15 together, in a rose-like shape.The flowers are bell-shaped, greenish-white to yellowish, 4.5–6.5 mm (3⁄16–1⁄4 in) long, with six tepals partially fused together at the base; they are produced singly or in clusters of two or three in the junctions of the branchlets.Plants native to the western coasts of Europe (from northern Spain to northwest Germany, north Ireland, and Great Britain) are treated as Asparagus officinalis subsp.Corb., distinguished by its low-growing, often prostrate stems growing to only 30–70 centimetres (12–28 in) high, and shorter cladodes 2–18 mm (3⁄32–23⁄32 in) long.Certain compounds in asparagus are metabolized to yield ammonia and various sulfur-containing degradation products, including various thiols and thioesters, which following consumption give urine a characteristic smell.In Turkish, asparagus is known as kuşkonmaz, literally "[a] bird won't land [on it]", in reference to the shape of the plant.Since asparagus often originates in maritime habitats, it thrives in soils that are too saline for normal weeds to grow.Thus, a little salt was traditionally used to suppress weeds in beds intended for asparagus; this has the disadvantage that the soil cannot be used for anything else."Crowns" are planted in winter, and the first shoots appear in spring; the first pickings or "thinnings" are known as sprue asparagus.A breed of "early-season asparagus" that can be harvested two months earlier than usual was announced by a UK grower in early 2011.Purple asparagus differs from its green and white counterparts in having high sugar and low fibre levels.The shoots are prepared and served in a number of ways around the world, typically as an appetizer or vegetable side dish.Cantonese restaurants in the United States often serve asparagus stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, or beef.asparagus eaten raw as a component of a salad has regained popularity, although may cause digestive issues for some.Older, thicker stalks can be woody, although peeling the skin at the base removes the tough layer. The bottom portion of asparagus often contains sand and soil, so thorough cleaning is generally advised before cooking.Green asparagus is eaten worldwide, and the availability of imports throughout the year has made it less of a delicacy than it once was. In Europe, according to one source, the "asparagus season is a highlight of the foodie calendar"; in the UK this traditionally begins on 23 April and ends on Midsummer Day. As in continental Europe, due to the short growing season and demand for local produce, asparagus commands a premium price.In the UK, it is estimated that the asparagus harvest season can begin as early as mid-February and continue into late autumn by growing cold-resistant cultivars under heated polytunnels.Freshness is very important, and the lower ends of white asparagus must be peeled before cooking or raw consumption.Only seasonally on the menu, asparagus dishes are advertised outside many restaurants, usually from late April to June. Tall, narrow asparagus cooking pots allow the shoots to be steamed gently, their tips staying out of the water.In western Himalayan regions, such as Nepal and north-western India wild asparagus is harvested as a seasonal vegetable delicacy known as Kurilo or Jhijhirkani.asparagus... affects the urine with a foetid smell (especially if cut when they are white) and therefore have been suspected by some physicians as not friendly to the kidneys; when they are older, and begin to ramify, they lose this quality; but then they are not so agreeable. More recent work has confirmed that a small proportion of individuals do not produce asparagus urine, and amongst those that do, some cannot detect the odour due to a single-nucleotide polymorphism within a cluster of olfactory receptors.In the 1980s, three studies from France, China, and Israel published results showing that producing odorous urine from asparagus was a common human characteristic.In 2010, the company 23andMe published a genome-wide association study on whether participants have "ever noticed a peculiar odor when [they] pee after eating asparagus". This study pinpointed a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in a cluster of olfactory genes associated with the ability to detect the odor.Asparagus has been used as a vegetable owing to its distinct flavor, and in medicine due to its diuretic properties and its purported function as an aphrodisiac.Emperor Augustus coined the expression "faster than cooking asparagus" for quick action.In the second century AD, the Greek physician Galen, highly respected within Roman society, mentioned asparagus as a beneficial herb, but as dominance of the Roman empire waned, asparagus' medicinal value drew little attention[Note 1] until al-Nafzawi's The Perfumed Garden.That piece of writing celebrates its purported aphrodisiacal power that the Indian Ananga Ranga attributes to "special phosphorus elements" that also counteract fatigue.The green crop is significant enough in California's Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta region that the city of Stockton holds a festival every year to celebrate it.The Bavarian city of Nuremberg feasts a week long in April, with a competition to find the fastest asparagus peeler in the region; this usually involves generous amounts of the local wines and beers being consumed to aid the spectators' appreciative support.
Growing Asparagus at Home
It is native to Eurasia and people theorize that it grew wild in seaside dunes along the Mediterranean Sea and the British Isles.Anyone who has visited Oceana County knows that most of the soil is only a step above beach sand and we grow almost 10,000 acres of asparagus here.One of the crop's most unusual requirements is a high pH (a "sweet" versus "sour" soil).That may be a problem if you are living in the southern United States where soils are generally naturally acid.Increasingly growers are planting more Canadian hybrids, especially one called Teissen, which our early tests show is more productive.The Canadian hybrids were produced out of a breeding program at Guelph University in Ontario.I am less familiar with some of the varieties used in the southern United States, but UC 157 is widely grown in places like California and Mexico.The transplant shock is correspondingly larger and the end result is that the moved crowns usually die.Rows in Michigan are planted from 4 to 5 feet apart to give fern room to grow in the summer.We are not exactly sure why the phosphate is important, although we speculate that it enhances development of the root system and helps reduce transplant shock.Wait until the plants have gone dormant in the late fall or in the spring before growth begins to finish filling the trenches.In warmer weather you will find that tip quality will be better if the spears are picked at the shorter end of this size range.These yield drops are a good sign that the crown is beginning to experience stress.You will find that whips are generally higher in fiber and tougher to eat than large diameter spears.Competing weeds and insect and disease pests should be controlled throughout the growing season.However, it is not a good idea to encourage excessive fern growth late in the season, August and September in Michigan.It takes a great deal of energy from the crown to grow new fern, and after that date there may not be enough day light and warm weather left to allow the plant to make enough new photosynthate to replace the energy lost in growing the fern.In one disease control study by Dr. Mary Hausbeck at Michigan State University in the 1990s, salt was applied up to levels of 1000 pounds per acre.As you can imagine, applying salt at amounts over a 1000 pounds per acre has a few side effects.Commercial growers in Michigan have pretty much abandoned tillage because equipment can cut into asparagus crowns, opening them up to Fusarium root rot and thereby shortening the life of the field.The late tillage will certainly break off some of the spears that could have grown into new fern using up some of the crowns reserve energy.The white cutworm over-winters as a larva and can begin attacking spears as soon as they emerge in the spring.This beetle is uniquely colored with a black and white checkerboard pattern set on a field of maroon.Its chief damage during the harvest season is to glue black eggs to spears.This cutworm feeds on the side of the spear as it grows causing it to bend, often in a corkscrew shape.At present, carbaryl, the active ingredient in most garden dusts, is often used by homeowners to control all of these pests.However, carbaryl's homeowner uses are being reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency and if that label is cancelled, a substitute will need to be found.It is important to remember that if you use carbaryl you should wait at least 24 hours before picking treated asparagus.There are two major foliar diseases in Michigan, asparagus rust and Stemphylium purple spot.Since both diseases move from the debris of the previous year onto emerging spears and fern, it is beneficial to remove the debris of the previous year's fern in early winter or early spring and destroy or compost it to kill the over-wintering structures of both of these diseases.Since both of these diseases need moist conditions to grow, another cultural practice can be to plant beds so that prevailing summer winds can blow the length of the row and dry out the fern rapidly.Fungicide treatments by commercial asparagus growers in Michigan begins when new shoots are fully ferned out up until the first week of September.This disease is not generally a problem for gardeners, since cooking usually causes the spots to disappear from the spears.Also unlike purple spot, these lesions are confined to stalk and branches, but when numerous can cause the entire plant to turn brown.At present the only control is to keep asparagus crowns healthy so that they can successfully fight off the disease as long as possible.This disease also explains why it is not a good idea to plant a second crop of crowns in an old asparagus bed.Frost can also be devastating to asparagus beds, causing spears to first take on a glassy, dark-green color and then to shrivel and turn black.In general, asparagus is a big user of potassium, uses very little phosphorus other than in the year crowns are set, and uses small amounts of nitrogen.The traditional way to grow it is to plant crowns on the soil surface instead of trenches and to mound dirt up over the rows.During harvest pickers walk between the mounded rows and when they see an asparagus tip just cracking through the soil they dig the spear out of the dirt and cut it off.An alternate way to raise white asparagus was developed by Dr. Jim Motes, an Extension Specialist recently retired from Oklahoma State University.His system was to place bent iron hoops over flat rows and cover them with thick black plastic.
How to Grow Asparagus in Your Garden – Bonnie Plants
In fact, a productive asparagus bed is a good reason to renovate your house, rather than move!Asparagus can be grown in most parts of the country but does especially well in cooler regions with longer, colder winters.These periods of dormancy allow asparagus stalks to grow more robustly in the spring than they do in warmer regions with milder winters.Asparagus takes a few seasons to mature but will reap a harvest for 15 to 30 years, so choose a planting location that will go undisturbed for a long time.As asparagus grows taller, backfill the rows with soil until it is eventually level with the garden bed.The key to growing asparagus is to have healthy, vigorous plants that produce a lot of spears.Choose a sunny, well-drained site on the edge of your garden where it will not be disturbed by the activity of planting and re-planting other areas.Mulch for the winter, or grow a cool-season cover crop that can be turned under before planting in spring.In spring, after danger of frost has passed, dig a depression 6 to 8 inches deep running the length of the row, mounding the improved soil on each side for later use.Set seedlings into the lowest part of the depression, planting about 2 inches deeper than they were originally growing.In addition to great soil, asparagus needs a steady supply of plant food to grow its best.Bent spears are caused by insects feeding or damage from cutting adjacent stalks.Black and red asparagus beetles can be a challenge, damaging the foliage and weakening the roots.Once asparagus plants are strong enough to be harvested, cut all new shoots in spring when they are about 8 inches tall, snapping them off at the soil line.That's why spears from the grocery store or from the refrigerator should always be trimmed to remove any tough tissue before cooking.Cut back the 4 to 6-foot tall foliage, or the ferns as they are called, after frost has turned them brown.After the spring harvest, asparagus plants grow tall with beautiful fern-like foliage through summer. .
How to Find Wild Asparagus
Despite this, instructions on actually finding wild asparagus are impossibly rare in foraging literature.Perhaps some writers view the feral sprout as beneath them — it is not a native to North America, after all.For example, it is found in fewer than half the counties of California, and is equally spotty in Oregon.Knowing which was which was once tricky, but thanks to the USDA, you can see in which counties asparagus grows on this map, which will zoom in down to the location level in some states.But you still need to actually find the young, tender spears in early spring, when they emerge from a scraggly root crown that can live in excess of 50 years.This can be anywhere in the East and South, but in the arid West, you will need to focus on marsh edges, irrigation ditches and near cattle ponds or sloughs and streams.You can find it near small trees and even in briar patches, but never in a forest or even an open wood.Here they like to hang out with hemlock, wild mustard, curly dock and tules (And ticks.In the Midwest — southern Michigan is an exceptionally good place to look for wild asparagus, for example — look around ditches, hedgerows, farm field edges and especially fence lines.Asparagus is an herbaceous perennial, meaning the growth above ground dies back every year.If you do, mark the spot on a GPS or make a mental note so you can return in early spring.Winters in even mild areas like mine will often knock that old growth over, so you will need to look for what appears to be a dead ferny plant on the ground.It helps to know that the foliage all stems from the central stalk, which was the asparagus spear.But if you wanted to preserve wild asparagus, my advice is to blanch the spears in boiling, salty water for 3 minutes, shock them in a big bowl of ice water, then pat dry, vacuum seal and freeze.Seek ye the glorious wild asparagus, harbinger of spring and mischievous agent of stinky pee. .