Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) are hardy plants, which can yield up to 15 years of harvest if well maintained. Hardy within USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9, asparagus thrives in the rich soils of Texas. The state of Texas falls within USDA hardiness zones 6a through 9b, with an average yearly rainfall between 8 and 48 inches. It's a perfect environment for the gardener yearning to cultivate this tasty, green vegetable, which is high in vitamin B and folic acid. If you live in Texas, you can add asparagus to your backyard garden, provided you prepare the soil properly before planting the asparagus crowns.
Things You'll Need
- Soil pH testing kit
- Lime or peat moss
- Asparagus crowns
- Soaker hose
- Sharp knife
Prepare an area in your garden that contains well-drained soil and full sun. Asparagus plants prefer soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. The soil pH in Texas varies. For instance, East Texas tends to have acidic soil, but other areas of Texas that experience more rainfall, often have soil that is more alkaline. Test your soil before planting to determine if your pH is adequate.
Prepare the soil for planting by breaking up large chunks of dirt with a pitchfork and creating a fine soil at least 16 inches deep. If your soil test determines that you need to mix-in amendments, add lime for a pH below 6.5 or peat moss for a pH above 7.5. Add either amendment according to label instructions. Add in a 4-inch layer of compost to enrich the soil.
Plant asparagus in Texas soils during the fall season. Dig a 6-inch trench using a hoe or sturdy shovel. Place the asparagus crowns in the trench, spaced 1½ feet apart, roots spread wide apart. Cover the asparagus crowns with 6 inches of soil. Space the trenches 3 feet apart.
Apply a layer of mulch atop the asparagus plants. Bark chips or straw will help with drainage and reduce weed growth around the asparagus plants in the spring. Mulching will also protect the delicate crowns from the Texas winters that dip to a low -5 degrees F in some areas.
Water the Texas asparagus with 1 inch of water per week. Keep the soil moist at a 1-inch depth at all times. Use a soaker hose, which will provide deep watering, instead of a sprinkler. Discontinue watering in the winter if the area of Texas that you live in has a blanket of snow. Resume once the snow has melted. Feed the soil with a 5-10-10 fertilizer. Check the packaging label to determine allocation amounts and time frames.
Continue the process of watering and fertilizing throughout the first growing season. Cut the tops of the asparagus plants down to the soil level during the second winter. Begin harvesting the Texas asparagus during the second year of growth, when the spears are 6 inches in height. Cut the spears approximately 1 inch above the soil line using a sharp knife.
Tips & Warnings
- You can purchase a soil pH test from a garden center or plant nursery.
- Do not over water the asparagus. Asparagus will not thrive in standing water. Check the soil before watering. If it feels moist, refrain from watering and check back in a few days.
- Photo Credit asparagus image by cherie from Fotolia.com
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