How to Grow White Asparagus in Your Garden
Growing Asparagus in the Garden
Fresh asparagus is on the market only for a few weeks during the year and relatively expensive. So why not cultivating this excellent crop in your own garden? Whatever your taste, you can choose between white and green asparagus. However, the cultivation of green asparagus is less complex than it would be with white asparagus.
As a starter, you need to have a sunny spot in your garden for your asparagus. Keep the soil loose as the plants don’t like being waterlogged. Light and sandy soils provide the best conditions for excellent growing results. PH values between 5.5 and 6 are ideal. As asparagus fields can be harvested for a period as long as 10 years, taking care when selecting the location of the patch, especially for white asparagus on ridges. If the patches run north to south, harvesting will be balanced during the asparagus season, that is, the plant develops equally well at both sides of the earth wall. Quite differently, laying out the patches from east to west will start the harvesting at the southern side of the ridges at an earlier point in time.
Cultivating White Asparagus
Growing white asparagus requires more efforts than green asparagus. Although the planting processes of the two varieties are identical, white asparagus is not planted in two, but only one row. For this, lay out a 1.5 m wide patch and dig a 40 to 50 cm wide furrow along its center. Regarding to deepness and improvement of the soil, you may refer to green asparagus.
During the first and second year, white asparagus is treated the same as green asparagus. It can also be harvested not before its third year. To keep the white color of the spears, protect them from direct sunlight. This is why you will cover the first shoots with an earth mound once they break through he ground. Alternatively, you can save the crowns by gradually moving loose soil around them and cover the rows with black plastic foils. The foil tunnel must be spaced 30 cm high and 50 cm wide. The long sides need to be fixed in a way to allow their folding during the harvesting! Harvesting can commence approximately 10 days after the earthing up. Once the harvesting period is over, the ridges will be leveled and the fern is allowed to grow through the soil for the sake of the plant’s regeneration. November is the perfect time to remove the fern growth, as already described for green asparagus.
The harvesting of asparagus, which is also called the cutting of asparagus, is carried out with a specially designed asparagus knife or an ordinary, however sharp, knife. White asparagus is harvested as soon as the crowns can be seen making their way through the surface of the earth mound (indicated by fine breakages). Every spear is being exposed with utmost care and cut off slightly above the crown of the root. The hole is immediately filled up again with soil.