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Asparagus does best in areas that have either cold winters during which the ground freezes, or very dry summers. It’s a hardy & adaptable plant, but it’s much harder to grow in areas with mild winters & wet summers, such as the Gulf Coast of the United States.
You can plant asparagus in the ground, but it really thrives when planted in a raised bed. planted in a staggered fashion about a foot apart. Start them from seeds, or- for faster results- plant their crowns.
Once the asparagus has fully established the bed will produce an abundant crop of spears spring after spring for at least the next 20 to 30 years.
Growing asparagus is a long-term investment; it takes 3 years before you can take a full harvest from your plants (taking one or two spears from each plant in Year Two is admissible). If you are too impatient your plants will never “grow up big and strong”! Even in the third & subsequent years you must be restrained: stop harvesting spears at about the end of June. Tradition says that you ought not to harvest after Midsummer’s Day (21 June), however a little leeway of course is acceptable.
Preparing The Soil & Choosing The Location:
Mix plenty of compost with well-tilled soil, & also peat or coir (plant fibers, fine wood chips) to make sure the soil stays very loose & friable (crumbles through fingers when you pick it up).
This is very important because if the soil gets too compacted, you will get thick, short & stubby carrots. While those carrots are still edible, what you really want are nice long, thick carrots.
There is no need to start your seeds indoors. Carrots grow best when they are direct sowed into your garden bed.
Space the seeds out eight to twelve inches in order to grow large, thick, healthy carrots.
Carrots do very well even when they receive very little care. If you want great carrots, make sure to keep their soil moist (not saturated!) & free of weeds. Some people like to feed their carrots every two weeks or so with compost tea.
Most carrot varieties reach full maturity in 60 days. That does not mean if you pick your carrots before that time they will be bad or even less tasty, it just means they should reach a good size at that time.
You can pick them as soon as 30 days, but they will be a bit smaller, & with some varieties like little finger & tenderswseet, they will have a nice sweet flavor to them. Almost like candy!
Make sure you plant them in an area that receives a lot of sunlight.
Deer, rabbits and other rodents love eating your fresh carrots, so make sure you protect your garden beds.
Because carrots are a root crop you can fully encase your carrots in a cage and they will grow fine. Carrots also grow great in cold frames which comes in handy for those areas that experience frost.
Edible Carrot Greens Can Be Re-Grown From The Tops!
Note: Although the roots will not regrow, by soaking the tops of your carrots in water, the greens will regrow, which are edible: several “carrot green recipes” just below!
Select fresh carrots (not baby carrots) that sport a little green on the top.
Cut off the top 2 inches from the crown of one or more carrots.
Place the tops in a shallow saucer, cut side down.
Add water so that half of the carrot top is submerged in the water.
Place the saucer on a windowsill where it will get light.
Add water to the saucer as needed to keep the tops from drying out.
The carrot tops will sprout in about 1-2 weeks.
Learning from the Past to Prepare for the Future