Where Asparagus Grows in the State of Texas
If you live in Northern or Western Texas with cooler winters and not-so-hot summers, you are in luck if you would like to grow asparagus at home. Asparagus requires average winter temperatures below 50ºF (10ºC) in order to go into dormancy and average summer high temperatures which stay under 85ºF (29.4ºC).
However, there are some other important facts to know about this delicious vegetable before you start planting it.
About the Asparagus Plant
Asparagus is an unusual vegetable for two reasons: It is a perennial crop, meaning you plant it once and then harvest it for years to come. Also, asparagus plants are dioecious with separate male and female plants. Male plants are better producers, and you can select a predominately male variety or thin out female plants to maximize your harvest.
Asparagus spears are the immature shoots of the plant which appear in early spring and then grow into tall, fern-like bushes in the summer. Because the root system of asparagus is large and deep, it is important to plant it into a well-prepared garden bed containing plenty of organic matter and good drainage.
Choosing the Right Asparagus Variety
There are many cultivars of asparagus, and each has its own unique flavor and some do better in warmer and dryer conditions commonly found in Texas. Warm weather, drought tolerant varieties include:
- De Paoli
A few popular all-male hybrids are:
- Jersey Giant
These hybrids all produce predominately male plants, but there will still be a few female plants. You can identify these by the red, seed-filled berries which appear on the female ferns in late summer, and you can thin them out or just enjoy them for their attractive, summer foliage.
Growing Asparagus in Texas
Caring for asparagus plants in Texas is pretty much the same as growing this crop anywhere else. Important points to remember are:
- Prepare the bed by digging-in a minimum of 2 inches (5cm) of compost, decomposed manure, or leaf mold into the planting area.
- Plant one-year old crowns for fastest harvest.
- Do not pick any spears in the first year and only a few the second year so the roots can develop fully.
- After it is established, plants need the most water in summer when ferns are growing.
Once your Texas asparagus bed is established, you can expect to harvest tender shoots every spring for as long as 20 years.