Sunday, April 19, 2009

Planting Bare Root Asparagus

One of my early garden favourites is asparagus. This year I added a second bed in my floating garden.

You can find multi-packs of asparagus bare roots in the nursery. I got mine at Walmart with 10 plants for $4.97. Because I do intensive gardening in my small beds, I planted my asparagus roots a bit closer than recommended. Here's what they say at

Dig a 12 inches (30 cm) deep trench and mix compost into the bottom. Create a mound to support each root. Space them about 12-18 inches apart (30-45 cm) for optimal growth. Fill the trench and firmly (but gently) pack the soil over the roots. Watering or rain will help settle the soil.

The rule of thumb is don't harvest any asparagus the first year (some even say the second) after planting. The roots need to stored energy for productive harvests in future years. After the spears emerge from the ground they will continue to grow into large ferns. Do not cut the ferns back until they begin to wither in the fall. You may need to provide them with supports, especially in windy areas. The nutrients generated will be stored in the roots for the long winter's rest.

When it's time to harvest your asparagus, use a knife and cut the spears just below the surface of the soil. The roots will keep producing spears and harvesting can continue until mid-June. After that time let the remaining spears grow into ferns to rejuvenate roots. With just a bit of fertilizer and tender care each year, the long-lived roots will produce yummy veggies for years to come. -- Margy


  1. That's a great post. I want to plant some, as well as rhubarb. We have rain/sleet tonight, though in My Muskoka. I MUST be patient!!!

  2. Thanks for this info! My husband loves asparagus!

  3. Fascinating. & more wonderful that you do it with such grace in a very small space! Your garden must be the envy far & wide. I had to click on the bare roots, they look like twine at first glance. I really like seeing the garden, the bunny, the owl, the crag, and across the lake in the btm photo.

  4. I've never been able to decide where to plant an asparagus bed with confidence that I wouldn't want to move it. But a floating asparagus bed! That is a wonder. Beautiful and useful post.

  5. Anonymous7:11 AM

    Your floating garden fascinates me. Nice to see them again. Love asparagus, but had no idea they took so long to produce. Thanks for the lesson.

  6. I planted asparagus in my old house, but moved before I had a chance to taste them. I wonder how the plants are doing now? I love asparagus and will have to plant them, maybe next year..I have to make room.

  7. Anonymous4:39 PM

    Love the idea of the floating garden. I love asparagus and hope to plant it.

  8. R. Harik9:53 AM

    Thanks for the helpful tips. Just a note on a non-asparagus-related point: as a bookseller, you are I'm sure aware of the economic consequences of big-box bookstores. Please keep in mind that shopping at Walmart instead of your local nursery has the exact same effects.


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy