Before venturing in asparagus farming, asking yourself is, “are there asparagus picking near me?” Asparagus will grow in zones 3 to 8, mainly temperate UK regions, as long as the summers aren’t sweltering and long. Keeping this knowledge in mind will let you select a part in your area for growing asparagus without any drawbacks.
Use the requirements for the optimal growth of asparagus to know if you can provide them without issues. If you have limitations, you can still meet the conditions for asparagus by using a greenhouse. Polytunnel cultivation of asparagus will maintain the ideal environment for a fruitful yield of asparagus.
Asparagus Picking Near Me: Where Do Asparagus Grow?
If you live in a temperate UK region or anywhere from zones 3 to 8, it’s feasible for you to grow asparagus. The next step is to ensure that your area doesn’t experience extreme temperatures, particularly long and hot summers. To be more specific, asparagus will thrive well during early spring, where the soil temperatures reach above 50°F.
One can conclude that asparagus will grow well in cold areas. However, you can also choose a specific variety suitable for your region in the UK. For example, the Guelph Millennium variety is best in freezing climates. It emerges late so that it wouldn’t experience damages from freezes.
On the other hand, Apollo and UC-157 asparagus varieties tolerate heat well. Zones 4 to 6 will have the most options of types to select from, so your deciding factor would be how much asparagus do you intend to produce. Varieties that produce male plants only will have a higher yield compared to plants that produce female asparagus.
How To Select The Area To Plant Asparagus?
Now that you know the answer to, “where is the asparagus picking near me?” it’s time to select a specific site. Asparagus is a perennial plant, which means the crops will use the site you’ve chosen for many years. Asparagus can produce for as long as 30 years, so the site must provide the optimum conditions.
The area for your crops must be able to receive at least 8 hours of sun per day. The plants can tolerate some shade, but space must have no tall trees or shrubs to block them. At the same time, the soil should be sandy and well-drained to prevent rot.
You should also prepare the area and remove any weeds that will affect the growth of asparagus. If needed, adjust the soil pH until it is from 6.5 to 6.8. And lastly, be on the lookout for pests on the site.
When To Plant Asparagus?
The best season to plant asparagus is early spring. You have the option of using either seeds or crowns. With the former, you must soak them beforehand and sow the seeds indoors. Harden the plants when they are 12-inch tall for a week before transplanting them outside after the last spring frost.
Asparagus plants will mature in the autumn, and you can select the male plants for a more productive harvest. You can then transplant these crops again to your permanent site. However, it will take three years for the plants to be ready for harvesting.
If you start with year-old root systems or crowns, you need to dig trenches and space the crowns up to 2 feet apart. Drape the roots and then top your crops with 3 inches of soil. You can add another inch of soil after two weeks to let them settle.
Planting Asparagus In Polytunnel
One can solve the limitations in areas and conditions by growing asparagus in the polytunnel. This way, you can ensure a fresh and organic harvest every season. Refer to Krostrade.co.uk to know more about greenhouses, including growing asparagus in pots if you genuinely lack space for these crops.
In the greenhouse, you can use either seeds or crowns in both pots and raised beds. The next step is to maintain temperatures indoors between 65 to 85°F. At the same time, keep in mind that the crops’ crown and the root system can reach up to 6 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep.
Managing weeds will also be more comfortable in a polytunnel because you can monitor the area quickly. Mulch your bed with compost in the late winter to prevent weed growth. Once late autumn comes, remove all the dead ferns to prepare for the next season.
When To Harvest Asparagus
Harvest asparagus after three years when the plants have established themselves. This way, the crops’ crown will be strong enough to provide a continuous harvest for many years to come. As for the harvesting period, it will depend on your area.
The best time to harvest asparagus spears is during early spring, where the temperature is less than 70°F. This is a good practice to prevent damage from the upcoming freeze. You can harvest daily every morning or evening, so the spears are suitable for storage.
The harvest duration can be for two weeks in the third year, four weeks in the fourth year, and eight weeks in the fifth year. You can take the spears that are 9 inches long, but they can be 7 inches long as the weather warms up. This way, you can prevent the spears from becoming fibrous due to prolonged maturation.
Harvest your crops by snapping off the spears at ground level or cut 2 inches below soil level. Asparagus plants can produce for decades and are left standing over summer into winter. To make sure you can keep your harvest fresh, learn how to store asparagus in the freezer.
Asparagus Companion Plants
Growing asparagus in the polytunnel can also be advantageous because you can plant them with companion plants. Tomatoes, herbs, and greens grow well alongside asparagus. Companion plant farming is a beneficial practice to create a diverse UK garden where crops help each other thrive.
Tomatoes grow well in the greenhouse, and they are excellent neighbours with asparagus. The solanine in tomatoes repels asparagus beetles that damage asparagus shoots and fronds. In exchange, asparagus protects the root systems of tomatoes against root-knot nematodes.
Basil, parsley, coriander, comfrey, and dill are herbs that you can grow alongside asparagus. For starters, these herbs keep asparagus beetles, spider mites, and aphids at bay. Their aroma is also attractive for pollinators such as bees.
You can also plant greens like lettuce and spinach in between lettuce rows. Doing so, asparagus can serve as shade for these greens because of their height. This will also result in a neater looking UK garden.
What not to plant with asparagus?
Never use potatoes, garlic, and onions as companion plants for asparagus. While companion planting offers many benefits, planting asparagus with these crops can do more harm than good. Some vegetables are detrimental to others because of the pests and the effects they introduce.
Growing asparagus is an example of how patience pays off because of how long you can harvest. However, one must consider, “where is the asparagus picking near me” to ensure that the crops grow well. Asparagus thrives in temperate UK regions or zones 3 to 8.
They must be on a site that receives at least 8 hours of sun per day in sandy soil. Growing asparagus in a polytunnel will allow you to maintain the optimum temperatures required at 65 to 85°F. At the same time, you can guarantee that what you’re getting are fresh and healthy asparagus spears.