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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Digging Up and Transplanting Asparagus: Now is the Time!

Asparagus is a perennial crop that sends up shoots every year. The plant dies back in the fall and the root system can manage cold and freezing weather. Come spring, the root crowns send up new shoots. We eat the shoots that are tastefully known as asparagus.

I have clay soil and my asparagus grows fairly well. I planted it over 5 years ago and I get asparagus every year. Looking back, I should have prepared the soil a bit better as to make it more loose.  A few bags of cheap soil would have been a nice addition.

I decided to move my large plots of asparagus over to my raised beds. Fall is the best time to transplant asparagus. The roots will have time to heal and grow and establish themselves before the spring. They will get about 120 days to rest before growing shoots in the spring.

The process is pretty simple. Dig out as much of the asparagus root system as you can. That will be a good 12 inch depth if you can manage. Prepare the transplant site by providing a good loose growing soil. Nothing fancy is needed. Double dig the spot. Take out 12 inches of soil and then dig the area another 12 inches deep to loosen the soil. The roots will enjoy growing down into the garden.

Asparagus Come Fall - The Rusted Garden Blog
Asparagus will brown and die back in the fall. Cut it down to about 6 inches before digging it up for transplant. You want to cut it back but leave enough of the stems so you know where to dig.

Asparagus Cut Back - The Rusted Garden Blog
Asparagus Division for Transplanting - The Rusted Garden Blog
Dig it to a depth of about 12 inches. Break the main clump up into 2 or 3 smaller clumps. Double dig the transplant site and drop in the asparagus.

Double Dug Asparagus Transplant Site - The Rusted Garden Blog
A Large Asparagus Clump Divided into Three - The Rusted Garden Blog
Dig out your spots and fill in the earth firmly around the clumps. You can keep the tops of the transplants level to the new planting area. That is,  you don't want over bury the tops of the root crown. You can drop it down about 2-3 inches if you want or mound some soil over the top of the transplant clump.  

Asparagus Transplanted into My Raised Bed - The Rusted Garden
 This is what the old spot now looks like.

The Old Asparagus Plot - The Rusted Garden Blog

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