So what is the difference between white asparagus and green asparagus? While they require the same growth rules, white asparagus doesn't receive sunlight and therefore it doesn't produce green chlorophyll (what makes plants green)! While both varieties of asparagus require the same care, you have to prevent sunlight during the productive weeks. The productive weeks are when the harvestable spears are putting on new growth.
Keep reading to learn how to grow white asparagus in this easy to follow gardening guide!
How to Grow White Asparagus in the Garden
Planting White Asparagus:
- The fall before planting, turn the soil in a full-sun area of your garden, and loosen to about 12 inches in depth.
- Spread a 3 inch layer of compost onto the bed and work into the soil.
- In the spring, once all danger of frost has passed, dig a 12 inch deep furrow for each row of asparagus. If planting more than one row, space each row 18 inches apart.
- Sprinkle a 1 inch layer of compost in the bottom of the furrow and cover with 2 inches of soil.
- Plant the crowns of the asparagus with the bud side facing up, spacing each plant 18 inches apart.
- Cover the crowns with soil, leaving only about 2 inches uncovered.
- Water the asparagus beds immediately.
White Asparagus Care:
- Water the asparagus beds once a week, providing about 1 inch of water each time.
- Remove any weeds that may come about. Check out this homemade week killer for a natural and safe way to getting rid of weeds.
- Always water near the base, and avoid watering the plants directly.
- As the asparagus spears start to grow, fill the trench with soil gradually.
- Do not harvest any asparagus for the first 2 years – their roots need ample time to establish themselves.
- During the first year of growth, be sure to cover the spears with mulch or soil, leaving no more than 1 or 2 inches of exposed spear. This is so that the sunlight does not reach the asparagus.
Harvesting White Asparagus:
- Patience is key when growing asparagus, but once the 2 years are up, you can go ahead and move the soil or mulch aside and harvest!
- Simply cut the asparagus spears at the base using a sharp knife once plants are 6-8 inches in height and 1/4-1/2 inch in diameter.
- Wash well and store in the refrigerator.
- If you'd rather not cover the asparagus with mulch or soil, you can simply lay down black plastic over the plants.
- Harvest your white asparagus spears over a 2 week period.
- Allow subsequent plants to grow and produce foliage. This will allow the plants to replenish their nutrients for next year. Cut back the foliage each fall.
- Check for aphids. If the plant has a blue-greenish color, or if there is sticky residue on the plant, aphids may be present. Check out this article on natural ways to kill aphids.
So now that you know how to grow white asparagus, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!
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