is among the earliest of spring vegetables. An area about 20 feet
square, or a row 50 to 75 feet long, will supply plenty of fresh
asparagus for a family of five or six persons, provided the soil
is well enriched and the plants are given good attention. More
must be planted if a supply is to be canned or frozen.
Asparagus does best where winters are cold enough to freeze the
ground to a depth of a few inches at least. In many southern areas
the plants make a weak growth, producing small shoots. Elevation
has some effect, but, in general, the latitude of south-central
Georgia is the southern limit of profitable culture.
The crop can be grown on almost any well drained, fertile soil,
and there is little possibility of having the soil too rich,
especially through the use of manure. Loosen the soil far down,
either by subsoil plowing or by deep spading before planting.
Throw the topsoil aside and spade manure, leaf mold, rotted
leaves, or peat into the subsoil to a depth of 14 to 16 inches;
then mix from 5 to 10 pounds of a complete fertilizer into each
75-foot row or 20-foot bed.
When the soil is ready for planting, the bottom of the trench
should be about 6 inches below the natural level of the soil.
After the crowns are set and covered to a depth of an inch or two,
gradually work the soil into the trench around the plants during
the first season.
When set in beds, asparagus plants should be at least 1-1/2
feet apart each way; when set in rows, they should be about 11/2
feet apart with the rows from 4 to 5 feet apart. Asparagus plants,
or crowns, are grown from seed. The use of 1-year-old plants only
These should have a root spread of at least 15 inches, and
larger ones are better. The home gardener will usually find it
best to buy his plants from a grower who has a good strain of a
recognized variety. In procuring asparagus crowns, it is always
well to be sure that they have not been allowed to dry out.
Clean cultivation encourages vigorous growth; it behooves the
gardener to keep his asparagus clean from the start. In a large
farm garden, with long rows, most of the work can be done with a
horse-drawn cultivator or a garden tractor. In a small garden,
where the rows are short or the asparagus is planted in beds,
however, hand work is necessary.
For a 75-foot row, an application of manure and 6 to 8 pounds
of a high-grade complete fertilizer, once each year, is
recommended. Manure and fertilizer may be applied either
before or after the cutting season.
Remove no shoots the year the plants are set in the permanent
bed and keep the cutting period short the year after setting.
Remove all shoots during the cutting season in subsequent years
(fig. 15). Cease cutting about July 1 to 10 and let the tops grow.
In the autumn, remove and burn the dead tops.
Asparagus rust and asparagus beetles are the chief enemies of
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