There is a richness to domestic, fat asparagus and skinnier homegrown spears. Asparagus officinalis is available for planting this early spring from crowns. They are planted in deep trenches and compost/soil is added as the spears grow, very much like building up a potato bin or bed. Do not be tempted to harvest the first year as the young spears must grow and leaf out, providing stored energy in the roots for the following years harvest. Once established, you can harvest from your original planting for 10-12 years!
Keep Asparagus well watered and well fed. Asparagus grows tall after the initial spear production in spring with fine feathery foliage to 4’ tall. It looks best planted along a fence with other tall growing flowers such as nicotiana, larkspur, cosmos and zinnia.
We also love Asparagus densiflorus (Meyer or Foxtail fern) and Asparagus setaceaus (Asparagus fern). Yes, they are related to the vegetable and really not ferns. We call them “ferns” because of the lacy foliage. They are really lilies! These ornamental plants have been popular a long time because they tolerate many exposures and are easy to care for. A. setaceus is hardy and versatile as a hanging basket, ground cover or container companion. In summer it has small white blooms (that do look like little lilies) followed by red berries. Foxtail fern is picturesque and adds great structure to beds and containers. These plants tolerate full sun on the coast but prefer some afternoon shade inland. Though they will tolerate drought, average water and regular feeding keep them looking their best.