When is the right time to plant asparagus in Meade County, KY?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Alan in Kentucky: Asparagus is a perennial crop that will give you years and years of delicious harvest. The best time to plant asparagus is early March through early April in Kentucky. Before purchasing your crowns it is a good idea to prepare the bed and remember that this vegetable is going to live there for 15-30 years, so make sure it is a space that will not be disturbed in future plantings. An asparagus bed should be located in a space where it will receive full sun, a minimum of six hours daily, and well-drained soil. You want to avoid low, poorly drained areas. If you have not had your soil tested this is a good idea so you know if you need to amend the soil before planting. You can have this done through the Meade County Extension Office. Their Web site is ces.ca.uky.edu/meade. Asparagus thrives in nutrient-rich soil so it will benefit the crop to add additional compost each year. As you prepare the bed you want to dig trenches 12-15 inches wide and 6-8 inches deep. At planting time take each crown and place it in the trench, spreading the roots out, and filling the crown with 2-3 inches of soil. As the shoots grow you will continue to cover them with soil until the trench is filled. Each crown should be placed approximately 15 inches apart in the trench and if you have multiple rows there should be 30 inches between them. Spears should not be harvested the first year. They need this time to store and transfer food to the roots so they can grow strong and healthy. The second year they can be harvested for three to four weeks and then should be left alone to again store up nutrients. The third year the crop can be harvested for eight to 10 weeks. All spears should be removed after a killing frost to prevent potential disease problems. For the long-term health of your plants it is best not to over-harvest while the plants are still young. A layer of mulch will help in terms of weed control and soil temperature.