Asparagus is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that is easy to grow in San Antonio, Texas. If you’re considering growing your own asparagus, there are some important things you should know to ensure a successful harvest.
Growing Asparagus in Texas
First, it’s important to note that asparagus is a perennial vegetable, meaning it will continue to grow and produce year after year. However, it does take some patience to get to the point where you can harvest your first crop. Asparagus typically takes around 2-3 years to establish before it can be harvested. Do NOT harvest at all during its first two growing seasons. But once it’s established, you can expect to harvest your asparagus for up to 20 years! That’s a pretty good return on your time investment.
When it comes to planting your asparagus, dormant roots or crowns are generally available at Rainbow Gardens during fall, and winter. Make plans to plant soon after purchasing, or store up to a week in a plastic bag in fridge; you just don’t want the roots to dry out. Soaking the roots in water for a few hours before planting is also a good idea
Where to Plant Asparagus
Asparagus prefers well-drained soil that has been amended to incorporate rich, organic matter and should be planted in a sunny location (8 hours full sun). Your garden plots should be tilled to at least 12″. Mix in a complete lawn fertilizer before planting. Rainbow Gardens 18-6-12 fertilizer is a good option at 2 pounds per 100 sq. feet of garden bed. Each winter, as well as right after harvesting, offer this fertilizer.
Space your asparagus plants about 18-24 inches apart to allow room for growth. Plant 10″ deep if you have loose, sandy soil. plant 6-8” deep in heavier clay soils. Cover with soil and water right away. Mulch with pine straw or grass clippings to help regulate soil temperature through the different seasons and to help prevent weeds.
Asparagus will grow 3-5′ of foliage throughout the year (this can be cut back in winter when it goes dormant), but remember, do not harvest any shoots or spears during the first 2 years. Water regularly, but it’s important to make sure asparagus is receiving at least an inch of water each week throughout the summer months.
After your 2 year waiting period, asparagus will be established. You can then harvest anytime you so see fresh tender shoots from winter up until the beginning of May. Harvesting often up until this point encourages new shoots to be produce in the next year. You should be harvesting before the plant produces in foliage in its 3rd year of growing. To harvest, simply cut the stalks at the soil level when they reach a height of about 6-8 inches. They should be tender enough to snap off right in your hand.
Overall, growing asparagus in San Antonio, Texas is a great way to enjoy this delicious vegetable straight from your own garden. If you’ve never tasted it fresh, you’ve been missing out. With a little patience and care, you can enjoy fresh asparagus for years to come! Why not give it a try?
~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy