Did you know that asparagus is actually separated into male and female shoots?! The male shoots are the ones that you harvest and eat, while the female shoots are the ones that you let grow and go to seed, in order to expand your patch.
I definitely don’t have the greenest thumb in my family, but I certainly am proud of my first little asparagus patch! It is now three years old, meaning that next year, it will be ready to be harvested throughout the season!
It’s doing so well, that I thought I would share some of the extra measures that I took to help ensure success.
First of all, I have to admit, that I did not start this asparagus from seed. I actually bought the plant when it was about one foot tall, with only female shoots on it.
I planted it in my back garden, by piling up a mound of dirt and planting the asparagus in the center of it.
I watered and watered it every day, and waited for male shoots to pop up. The first year, none did. Even though I was a little disappointed, I decided to just leave it alone and let it go to seed, as my research indicated that it would take about four whole years for the patch to become successful.
Year two, I had 5 male shoots pop up! I was so excited, and really, really wanted to eat them, but decided against it, and just let the whole plant grow together and again, go to seed.
This year, year three, my plant has about… 40 male shoots! Isn’t that crazy! Next year will be year 4, and I will definitely be able to get a nice crop!
Here are my tips for successfully growing asparagus:
1. Be patient! Don’t eat your asparagus for at least 3 whole seasons. Yes, this is going to be very hard, but so, so worth it!
2. Just let your asparagus grow naturally, and let it go to seed every season, if you want your patch to grow larger each year.
3. Don’t prune your asparagus in the fall. Wait until spring when the shoots are just starting to come up, and then remove any of the old shoots from the previous year.
4. Place a tomato cage around your asparagus shoots. This will help keep your shoots standing tall, and help prevent bending and breaking.
5. Spread sand on the base of your asparagus plants for the first couple of years. This helps guide the water to your plant roots, and helps keep the soil underneath, nice and saturated.
So, go ahead and get that asparagus patch started now! Use these 5 tips for success, and remember… If I can grow it, you can grow it!
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