Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

How—and When—to Water Your Asparagus Plants

Sprinklers watering an asparagus field

Sprinklers watering an asparagus field

Originally, asparagus grew in swamps and wetlands, and the plants still thrive in moist—though not soggy—soil today. Asparagus needs consistent watering, especially while the roots are being established, after that, a weekly watering is usually sufficient. It’s important to plant your asparagus plants in well-drained soil so that the roots don’t get water-logged—an invitation to root rot and other diseases.

On the other hand, it’s important that you don’t let your asparagus dry out. Hand water at the base of the plants or consider a drip hose or some other drip-irrigation method that will deliver water slowly and deeply into the soil for your asparagus plants. Avoid watering your plants from above, especially when they start to fruit; excess moisture on the fruit and foliage can cause rot.

How often you water your asparagus plants depends on how hot it is and how often they receive water naturally from the rain. Most of the time, an inch of water per week is plenty—and that includes natural rain water. In drought conditions, a deep soaking every 10 to 14 days is recommended. If you stick your finger into the soil and it’s not moist a couple of inches down, it’s probably time to water.

Tip: Early morning is the best time of day to water your asparagus plants. Avoid watering during the evening or night.

Using mulch can help keep water where the plants need it and also slow down evaporation. Apply a 2-inch layer of straw, grass clippings, shredded leaves, or cured, shredded wood mulch to cut back the need for hand watering and to retain moisture. The mulch will help deter weeds, too.

Rainwater is best for your garden plants. If it’s possible for you to collect rainwater, your asparagus plants will benefit from that!

When you properly water your asparagus, you’ll have healthy plants and a good harvest. Improper watering can lead to the following problems that you want to avoid:

  • Root rot
  • Stunted growth and root loss
  • Susceptibility to pests and disease
  • Reduced harvests and lesser-quality asparagus

How often do you water your asparagus plants? And what time of day do you water? Please tell us how you ensure that your asparagus plants get the right amount of water.

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