Asparagus has the highest glutathione levels of any food. Glutathione is the master phytochemical and is unmatched in its ability to remove poisons from the body. Asparagus is one of the best cancer-fighting foods. It is also rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
Asparagus can be planted early the Spring as soon as the soil can be worked. It is a cool weather-loving perennial crop that thrives in any area having winter ground freezes. If properly planted and cared for it will keep coming back and producing for 20 years or more! Here is how to grow asparagus:
- Choose an area of your yard that is well drained and receives full sun. Prepare a planting bed 5 feet wide by 10 feet deep by removing all grass and roots and then turning in at least 50% well aged compost 12 inches deep into the existing soil. The richer the better.
- Purchase twenty 1-year old ‘Jersey Knight’ or Jersey Giant’ crowns. This should produce enough be adequate for a family of three.
- Soak the crowns in compost tea for 20 minutes prior to planting.
- Make 4 rows 12 inches apart. Plant the crowns 6 inches deep with 24 inch spacing.
- Cover the crowns with 3 inches of soil. After two weeks cover again with another 3 inches of soil. After another two weeks add more soil until the soil is slightly mounded above ground level to allow for settling.
- Cover with mulch so your tender young spears do not have to compete so much with weeds.
- Water regularly. At least once every three days if it is not raining.
- Fertilize three times a year with compost tea or side dress with compost.
- Spray once a week during the growing season with insecticidal soap or pepper spray.
- During the winter months cover with 6 inches of straw or light mulch to provide protection from the cold.
- Don’t harvest any spears in the first two years so that all their energy can be used for establishing deep roots.
- In the third year, harvest one-fourth your crop every week over a four week period. Use a sharp knife to cut the spears at the ground level.
- In the fourth year harvest one-eighth of your crop over an eight week period.
Fresh-picked spears are far more tasty and tender than store-bought ones. Enjoy!
By Brian Hetrich