growing asparagus in the northwest

Asparagus takes 2 to 3 years to come into full production, but then rewards your patience with delicious spears every spring for 10 to 15 years. The plants take up considerable garden space but are highly ornamental — tall, feathery and graceful.

Dig trenches 12 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches deep; space trenches 4 to 6 feet apart. Spread 4 to 6 inches of loose, manure-enriched soil along trench bottoms and soak. Space plants one foot apart, setting them in so the tops are 6 to 8 inches below the original soil surface. Spread out the roots of each plant evenly. Cover with 2 inches of soil and water again. As the young plants grow, gradually fill in the trench, taking care to not cover the growing tips.

Don’t harvest any spears the first year — the objective is to build a large root system. When plants turn brown in late fall or early winter, cut stems to the ground.