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When do I subdivide my asparagus?  RSS feed

 
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I planted some asparagus awhile back - I forget how many years. At least 5, maybe 7.

Every year for the past four or more years, I've harvested asparagus off of them (though I often miss some good ones because I'm not real regular about it).

I want to plant more, to get a better harvest, but I'm thinking... it's probably about time to dig them up and subdivide them, right?

How many years do people normally wait before subdividing?

[Edit:] I know they aren't *necessary* to subdivide; I'm asking if I can/should subdivide them now, rather than buying more.

Also, would it actually benefit the asparagus if I got a different species to intermix with them when I do subdivide and replant them?
 
pollinator
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Asparagus isn't like other plants where you stick a spade through the middle of it and create two plants where there used to be one.

I used to start new plants (crowns) by planting seed.  I'd start them by the hundreds.  Most asparagus patches have dozens of volunteer plants that come up every year, so the challenge becomes staying on top of it and not letting your asparagus patch get over-run and over-crowded with a bunch of new plants.

Or am I wrong about this?  Can you dig up an asparagus crown and chop it into smaller pieces to be replanted?  I've never heard of that before.  As for planting seeds, you could do this after the first season.  Gather, plant, and get out of the way.
 
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best in autumn.
 
pollinator
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Does dividing set them back where you cant harvest the next year? Thats what has held me back from trying. If its like starting new i would rather,....start new.
 
pollinator
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Thanks for posting this. I’m interested in growing asparagus but I’ve never done it so I won’t offer you any advice. I did find this link (and lots of others), though. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/asparagus/propagating-asparagus-plants.htm There are also lots of YouTube videos. :-D I love the internet almost as much as I hate it. ;-P
 
Jamin Grey
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wayne fajkus wrote:Does dividing set them back where you cant harvest the next year? Thats what has held me back from trying. If its like starting new i would rather,....start new.



Some say yes (if you do it in spring, you won't get it that summer), and recommend doing it in fall instead (so you don't have to skip a season).

Supposedly, you might even get boosts in production the following year, but that might just be relative to crowded beds before thinning them.

Either way, I'm fine with skipping a year's harvest, or doing it in fall, if it means I get more asparagus in later years.
My bed is not overcrowded, but I'm wanting to relocate my bed anyway sometime in the next few years.
 
gardener
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Have successfully divided them by cutting through with a shovel. Removing one half & leaving the other half in the ground. Maybe not pretty but it works. It does take about a year for them to fully recover. I do divisions shortly after the harvest season to allow them as much time as possible to recover before the next winter. My preference is to to leave any living producing asparagus plant alone & do a happy dance for sketti monster that it's still alive again another year. It can have that spot as long as it likes. My overall technique is double dig & prepare the bed thoroughly the first time. Then weed it once a year, give it thick layer of quality compost, mulch, & simply watch the fronds sway in the wind & attract birds for another year.

Mine get a break from division this year. When some new soil in the hugelhole is ready they will be hacked & spread. Still developing that into a large bed dedicated to asparagus. Been learning, collecting, saving, & moving varieties for quite a few years now. It's almost serious payback time for a lot of hard work & a few setbacks. Expecting a reasonable harvest again this year but the following years should be asparagus aplenty for very little future effort.

Mixing varieties is probably not a good idea for commercial farming or pure seed saving but I mix them at home. Green on one side & purple on another but other that it's a jumbled genetic mixture. Never noticed any problems.


 
 
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You might have 20 plants with roots tangled together in just a small clump. You can dig up the clump and plant one back. That way you can get a lot of plants and only sacrifice this years production from one or two clumps
 
Jamin Grey
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Thanks for sharing your successes, gents! That encourages me.

Apparently, some people subdivide theirs every three years - though for me, I don't like unnecessary work, so I'm just going to subdivide it and plant it in it's newer more permanent spot this fall, and only ever subdivide it again if I want extra plants, or after ten years when the individual plants choke themselves out by propagating from their roots.

I'll prepare a good permanent location in advance, and move half my asparagus this fall, to ensure they survive, and the following fall I'll move the other half if all went well. My speculation is after subdividing them, I can probably fill four or five times the existing space. Based on what I know from harvesting my beds the past few years, I'd speculate each of my original plants now have about 7 plants present on the same cluster, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was alot more once I get digging.

Cindy Skillman wrote:I’m interested in growing asparagus but I’ve never done it



I strongly encourage it! Once they are established (which is fairly quickly), it's the easiest thing in my garden - easy, because I forget it exists until it's time to harvest. They've taken years of abuse and neglect from me, and survived fine, including me forgetting to water them during hot 100°F summers, and the beds getting choked with weeds.
[Edit:] This ofcourse varies by area. What's easy to grow in my area, may be a pain to grow in yours, and vise-versa.

Multiple years I've come out to my dead garden to examine the previous years' failures, and see the asparagus start poking up ready to be harvested, as a welcome reminder to keep trying. Asparagus is the perennial plant in my garden that has my back, rather than the other way around.

Or maybe my asparagus just feels bad for me. =D
 
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You can indeed divide the crowns with a loss of production for a year, or you can leave them alone for up to 20 years or even longer.
Asparagus is one of those wonderful plants that will create new plant crowns when left alone, it will create about half as many new crowns if you are harvesting it over if you just leave it alone.

 
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