Asparagus Plant Spacing

paully1(6A)November 29, 2009

I am getting a large bed together for planting asparagus in the spring, and I am wondering if anyone has any experiences to share (good or bad) with SFG asparagus. Mel says plant one or four crowns per square foot. Most asparagus planting instructions are for planting rows, but they indicate that spacing too-close can decrease yields and increase the risk of fungal disease. Four per square foot seems like too many. Instructions that I have found for planting asparagus in a raised bed says to ensure that the plants are at least sixteen to eighteen inches away from the edge of the bed, for frost protection. That would rule out even one crown per square foot. My asparagus bed will be 4' by 12'. How many crowns would be "right" for that space? I live near Toronto, ON, zone 6A.

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kathmcd7

I have 2' by 2' boxes and I put 4 plants per box, which is one plant per square ft. I have an abundance of asparagus.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 5:42PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

So, one per square foot is a good rule to follow? I have two beds that are 2' x 8' and I'd like to plant one with green asparagus and the other with purple asparagus and edge the front with alpine strawberries. I was hoping to plant in kind of a staggered v-shape with the strawberries in between the front asparagus plants. Hopefully, this gives some idea:

A_A_A
s A s A s

The beds are only 2' deep because they're against the fence, with purple raspberries on the other side. This is a garden I share with my nieces and nephews, so that's another reason to keep the beds on the smaller side. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 5:12PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

If I get approval from the fam soon I'll do a 86 sf raised bed with asparagus and raspberries, 30 sf of it will be asparagus and I'll buy 25 crowns from Territorial for the 30 sf space. All the asparagus beds I have ever done for myself and others have had 1' spacing and there is no need to crowd them any more than that - spend the money on something else. They'll fill in and soon you'll give some extra to loved family or friends.

A 4x12 is plenty for a small yard for starters, and depending upon where you buy, you'll usually get a choice of 10 or 25 crowns. Depending upon your budget, minimum 3 or better 4 sets of 10 is good, 2 sets of 25 is probably too much to pay, 1 set of 25 might be an extra year or two for it to get packed. Much, much cheaper is a packet of seeds and you'll wait an extra two years, but you'll get a higher % of females.

Yum!

Dan

    Bookmark   December 30, 2009 at 1:08PM
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paully1(6A)

Mel says try four per square foot, but I think that is too much.

I tried two 4x4 boxes of corn last year planted four per square foot, per Mel's recommendation, and it did not go well at all. Lots of stalks did not make ears, and the ears that did grow were small. Then, to add insult to low-yield injury, the squirrels stole them. :-(

I realize that corn is not asparagus, but I think that there might be an analogy there.

Even at one per square foot, I wonder if that will leave the perimeter crowns too close to the edge. The outside plants will be only six inches from the edge, and thus at greater risk for frost damage in winter.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 8:28AM
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paully1(6A)

I will be receiving my asparagus crowns soon, so I am resurrecting this post from the fall to see if anyone has any last minute advice...

Thanks!

Paully

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 8:02AM
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rds1955

1st timer for SFG Asparagus for me too!... I though the 4 per sq was kinda tight also, so I compromised and planted two per square on the 3rd.. We shall see what becomes of them...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 9:21PM
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natschultz

Based on everything I've read about asparagus, 4 per square foot is WAY too close, stick with one per square foot. Remember, they SPREAD! And DEEP soil is a must!

As for corn, you must pollinate it by hand to get the ears to be anything worth harvesting. That is why I no longer plant corn - I'm lazy.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:04AM
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aberardi_georgefox_edu

I made an asparagus bed error that has cost me 3 years! I planted it adjacent to a raspberry and strawberry patch, assuming there was plenty of distance from the raspberries, and the strawberries would be easy to contain. All had perfect growing environments, leading the raspberries to invade the asparagus even though the asparagus was taking off, and the strawberry shoots to grow undetected under the thick asparagus ferns. Annoying and concerning...and then last summer it became too much for the asparagus, overwhelmed by the canes. A mess!

To fix this problem, I dismantled the raised bed (a 4' deep x 16' x 30' monstrosity against a fence), and built 6 4x8' raised beds, @ 18" deep. I will be dedicating a box to just asparagus, no companions. I'm not sure about starting a new raspberry patch unless I can find a space that won't mind the invasion. Strawberries will be planted in a space where new growth can't hide.

Hope my error spares other new gardeners some grief.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 10:56PM
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cbosworth_rushmore_com

I too would like to start a sfg bed with asparagus plants. My question is that from my readings in Mel's book it appears that he puts a liner under his beds. Is this true for all beds including asparagus. With such deep roots, wouldn't a liner be counterproductive?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 11:24AM
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paully1(6A)

Cyndee,

You should not put a liner under your asparagus. Asparagus has roots that can grow up to ten feet according to the experts. The roots fan out, so some will run almost horizontal, just below the surface of the ground. Some go straight down, and lots will grow in between. Healthy asparagus has a very big root system!

After posing many questions and doing a lot of reading and searching, I ended up planting my crowns about 12" inches apart in a row, and I put three rows down a four foot box. After one year, I was able to harvest for about two weeks this spring, and now, I kid you not, some of the ferns are seven feet tall!

You can see pictures of my one-year-after-planting asparagus on the Senior-Gardening.com blog by Steve Wood. He was a great help to me when I was planning my bed, and he has been good enough to share my experiences in pictures on his blog. The link is below.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Paully

Here is a link that might be useful: Senior-Gardening Blog

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 12:34PM
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SeniorGardening(6)

After all the considerations of soil preparation, spacings, and nurturing of asparagus patches, here's one you might enjoy.

Beyond our property in an untilled section of land behind us has been an old, well established stand of asparagus. We've lived at our current location for eighteen years, and the asparagus patch was there when we moved in, so it's really an old one.

The landowner used to come pick asparagus once or twice each spring. When I ran into the her at the grocery last summer, she asked if I'd picked asparagus from the patch this year. Since I keep her barn lot mowed, I guess she assumed I used her asparagus, too. We hadn't, as my mama taught me not to take things that weren't mine! The landowner suggested that I go ahead and use the patch, as she now lives in an assisted living facility and doesn't get out much.

So last summer, I fed the patch a bit of commercial fertilizer a few times and mowed the spent stalks in the fall. We did a light picking from the patch this spring. While there weren't a lot of shoots, those that emerged were quite thick and healthy (and tasty). We stopped cutting asparagus early from what we've always called "Bonnie's asparagus," as we'd like the patch to thicken a bit.

I've kept a path mowed to the asparagus, as the field it's in is filled with poison ivy. I'll need to do some more weeding underneath the foliage, as there are some nasty weeds still there. And this fall, it could use a good covering of manure. But with some TLC, we should have a second asparagus patch that should continue producing for years to come.

The funny thing is that the patch has enduring all these years without much care.

Here is a link that might be useful: Senior Gardening

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 4:25PM
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bernardw

I know I am late to his discussion, but surely the point of 4 per sq ft is 1 at each corner of a sq ft thus giving a spacing of 1 ft between plants (which for asparagus is still too close). Dear old Mel consistently neglects to point this out. In a 4. X 4 bed you w ould able to plant 16 asparagus (at 1 ft spacing), 1 in the middle of each 1 ft square. Same with strawberries.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gallery1a

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 12:56PM
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