Growing asparagus in pots is a feasible practice for those who have limited space. However, much like with any plant, asparagus requires adequate space to grow without any drawbacks. If you’re growing asparagus in pots, opt for a container that is at least 18 to 20 inches deep and 12 to 20 inches across.
The pot size that you’ll use for asparagus is non-negotiable, especially since you must plant each asparagus crowns deeply. You can also make the area more feasible for the plant’s growth by putting the pots inside a polytunnel.
Can Asparagus Be Grown In Containers, Or Is It Better To Use Raised Beds?
You can grow asparagus in pots or containers. However, it’s better to use raised beds because the former has some limitations. For optimum production quality, one can use a polytunnel to meet all the required growing conditions of asparagus.
Growing asparagus in pots or containers
One can grow asparagus in pots as long as the containers are large enough to avoid overcrowding. Ensure that the pot is 18 to 20 inches deep and 12 to 20 inches in diameter. The reason for these requirements is that the crowns must be planted deeply.
Asparagus plants require adequate space for their roots to prevent root disease. Using a large-sized container made of terra cotta or plastic will also be feasible. However, your limitation here would be the number of asparagus crops you can have per container.
To ensure proper drainage, drill holes underneath and at the left and right sides of the container. You can then add fibreglass nettings at the bottom to ward off pests. Sadly, be aware that the asparagus you’ve grown in pots will not have a lengthy lifespan.
Meeting the requirements and conditions for asparagus will give you 3 to 4 years of service only. However, if one does not have a space for raised beds, growing asparagus in pots is still a sensible practice. Your only limitations here would be the number of plants to grow and how long they can provide you with a harvest.
How to grow asparagus in pots
You can use either seeds or crowns in pots. The plants will thrive well inside the polytunnel in an area that receives full sun. To be more specific, aim to have 65 to 85°F with soil temperatures below 50°F or above 85°F.
The soil should be moist, but avoid overwatering the containers as this will cause root rot. You can also side-dress the pots with compost manure once every month. Be on the lookout for beetles and weeds as well.
It is tempting to harvest asparagus spears during the first year. However, the best time is in the third year. You can allow asparagus crops to produce bushy stems in the first year and then cut them to ground level in October.
When you’re harvesting in the third year, leave most spears to produce ferns and let them rest in the middle of June. This will get your asparagus hardy for production in the next year. You can harvest asparagus spears when they reach 5 inches in height.
Logically speaking, it’s better to grow asparagus in raised beds because you won’t have spacing limitations. Production-wise, you will also be able to plant more crops. And since they can live longer, you will be ready to harvest longer as long as you correctly take care of your asparagus plants.
How to grow asparagus in raised beds
Asparagus crops can use raised beds for 20 years or more. Therefore, plan an area that receives full sun and drains well. A simple 4-feet wide raised bed is enough as long as the crowns’ trenches provide adequate spacing.
The crowns should have 2 feet spaced apart, and the trenches should be 6 inches deep. Add 2 to 3 inches of soil over the crowns before adding another inch 2 weeks later. Over time, you should have a mounded surface to allow settling.
Similar to growing asparagus in pots, do not harvest any asparagus spears in the first year. You can start picking on the third year over four weeks. Warm weather can produce twice the production, so it’s possible to pick asparagus spears twice a day.
Where Does Asparagus Grow?
Asparagus grows in temperate regions such as the colder areas of the UK. You can cultivate them in most areas, but it is more advantageous to grow them in places that don’t experience extreme temperatures. To be more specific, this perennial will do well in Zones 3 to 8 during early spring, where the soil temperatures reach above 50°F.
Asparagus crops are more robust in regions with long winters. This is why you might not find asparagus in July, where it gets scorching outside. What happens to the crops is that they reproduce and turn woody until they seed.
Farmers must stop harvesting at this period because the quality of asparagus crops diminishes. A common practice is to leave the plants standing during summer. And before harvesting starts in the spring, you can prepare the area again.
Overall, if your region experiences mild winters and long summers, it’s not favourable for you to grow asparagus. With proper conditions and care, asparagus can live up to 7 years. But what exactly do you use for planting asparagus?
Can You Plant Asparagus Ends?
You can plant asparagus ends if you are referring to the roots of the plant. The asparagus ends or crowns are simply the root system of one-year-old asparagus. Farmers also call the asparagus roots crowns, and you have the option to start with them or the seeds for cultivation.
When buying crowns, it’s best to acquire them a day before planting. Opt for those that are large, plump, and greyish-brown in colour. These are the characteristics of healthy crowns for successful planting.
How to plant asparagus ends?
Ensure that the soil you are using is sandy that’s neutral to slightly alkaline or slightly acidic to neutral. Like with most crops, it should be free of weeds and grass. You can also add manure, compost, and rock phosphate to encourage germination.
Before planting the crowns, soak them for 15 minutes in a bucket of warm water. Since you’ll be planting them in trenches, ensure a space of 18 inches apart. It would help if you also let the roots hang over the ridge sides and cover both the roots and crowns.
You can continuously add more soil over the crowns as your crops begin to grow. A good measure is up to 3 inches of soil every three weeks. Afterwards, mulch the plants to ensure good soil moisture and to keep weeds at bay.
It is well-advised not to harvest asparagus for the first couple of years. The best production is from 3 years and beyond. Asparagus takes time to mature, but your crops can be productive for 15 to 30 years.
How Many Asparagus Do You Get From The Plant?
One plant of asparagus will provide half a pound of spears per harvest. Therefore, 50 asparagus plants can feed a family of four. If the high yield is your goal in growing asparagus, stick to an asparagus variety that produces male plants.
For example, the Jersey Knight variety will produce male plants only. This gives you a higher yield because male plants will produce more shoots. They don’t have to allocate energy in making seeds compared to female plants.
Does Asparagus Prefer Sun Or Shade?
Asparagus prefers sun, but the crops will tolerate shade. However, one aims to have a high-quality yield, which is only achievable if you choose the former. You must plant asparagus in areas that receive at least 8 hours of full sun, whether it’s inside the polytunnel or outside.
Does Asparagus Multiply?
Asparagus multiply, so it’s more logical to grow them in large pots and beds. They can last for more than a decade, and they can produce as many spears to feed an adult in one season. However, asparagus plants are not invasive to grow.
Asparagus plants are one of those crops that can provide you with up to 30 years of production as long as their conditions are maintained. Growing asparagus in pots is feasible, but only if the container is 18 to 20 inches deep and 12 to 20 inches in diameter. Asparagus requires adequate space to avoid rot and overcrowding.
You have the option to use seeds or asparagus ends, also called crowns, for planting. Using the latter is a common practice because of the shorter period to wait. However, harvesting asparagus will only be feasible after three years when the plants have matured.
While asparagus can be hardy, it’s ideal for keeping the plants in an area that receives full sun. You can manage the conditions much easier in a polytunnel because of its structure. Overall, it’s worth cultivating asparagus because, after the waiting period, you can continuously harvest for years.