Asparagus planting depth - old vs. new method?

bart1(6/7 Northern VA)March 19, 2009

I have a question regarding the proper depth for planting asparagus. IÂve read conflicting information, some of it old and some of it new.

One source printed in 1981 ("Grow the Best Asparagus" by Michael Higgins, Storey Publishing) says that you should vary the depth from about 18 inches to 5 inches to spread the harvest over a longer period. The theory was that the shallower planted crows would come up first and the deepest planted crows would come up last.

The other source printed in 1994 (Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet) says you should plant them no deeper than 5 or 6 inches. It goes on to say that "research shows that the deeper the crowns are planted, the more the total yield is reduced".

So whatÂs the real story here? Is the more modern method the way to go? Or does planting at different depths do what it is supposed to do (spread out the harvest)? Does anyone have any first hand evidence on this topic?

Thanks!

Bart

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chaman(z7MD)

I had planted the roots so that crown remains barely visible at the surface level of the garden soil.Since the roots are of different lengths you will need to dig the holes of different depth so that crown remains at the surface level.
I hope you will hear more from fellow gardeners about their experience.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 4:05PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Bart - same zone here. ;) I subscribe to the 6" depth planting guideline as long as one doesn't live in the far north where the ground freeze depth can be a concern.

Planted at the surface makes them too susceptible to disease and crown rot or damage and much deeper than 6-8" can indeed reduce production.

We have several beds and one of the oldest was originally planted 12" deep. We get less spears and more damaged spears from it and it is more difficult to supply nutrients that deep.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 5:52PM
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hercules(PA 6a)

Bart,

I agree with Dave. There has been a lot of research into this subject from many Ag University teams, and all advice now is that 6 inches is the optimal planting depth. Deeper planting will significantly reduce yields. If you're up to a little more work, dig to 12 inches or more...then backfill to the 6 inch planting depth. Your crowns will adapt to their new home more rapidly and thank you with increased vigor.

Hal

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 6:21AM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Thanks folks, that's just the advice I was looking for. When less digging equals more productivity, then I'm on board!

Thanks again,
Bart

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 7:18AM
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susandonb(NC 7)

Great. Where were you guys when I was planting my beds 12' three years ago? Now I want to divide my crowns and spread them out cause I think they are too close together and now I find out I should bring them up to 6'. They are so solid in the bed I can't even budge them. Now what?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 8:47AM
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hercules(PA 6a)

Susan,

I just read your "Members Page", and I'm impressed! What a wonderful thing you're doing.

Having said that, I wish I had some encouraging advice for you concerning your 'gus bed. If I were you, and since you're expanding your operation, I would let well enough alone and plant a new bed of 'gus somewhere in your enlarged operation. "Rearranging" an established aspargus bed is not on my list of fun things to do...for reasons obvious to you now.

I'm a great help, right? ~smile~

Best wishes!
Hal

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 5:31PM
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