Asparagus is one of the most delicious vegetables that contain medicinal properties. It is also recognized to be related to the family of the onion. Besides that, asparagus is a very intriguing and unique plant to grow hydroponically. It is known to be a plant that remains inactive during the colder seasons. However, the plant is able to continue growing without a problem if sufficient warmth is assisted to the plant. A warm hydroponic garden is the optimum kind of environment for asparagus to grow in due to the minimal effort of growing them using such methods.
Step One: A Hydroponic Setup
Firstly, we will be learning how to grow asparagus through a hydroponic setup. There are two alternatives when it comes to obtaining stock for planting: seeds or crowns. Crowns are essentially baby roots that typically produce harvest more quickly, but with a couple of downsides such as potential diseases born from the soil being carried into your hydroponic garden.
Asparagus plants that are grown from seeds usually require optimum sunlight and warmth. This method produces a harvest that may be a year late. If well grown, the first couple of edible shoots of modernized hybrid plants will sprout within a year, while the first full production will be produced within one and a half years. Such plants have been said to sprout shoots for another 10 years. This is if the growth of the plant meets optimum and correct conditions, and is not harvested too much.
Step Two: Seed Germination and the Environment Required
Next, we will be diving into growing asparagus from seeds. These seeds usually see germination within two weeks especially in an environment with a temperature of around 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The seedlings of such plants are strong and persevere through cooler environments with high salt levels even though growth may be retarded as a result. The difficulty of success in this initial stage can be influenced by the species, with older varieties having a greater vulnerability to rot and producing fewer spears per seed during harvesting. Hence, it is highly recommended to grow modern hybrid asparagus to avoid this issue. Upon the successful germination of the seeds, the seedlings can then be migrated.
The plant’s body is encouraged to grow faster if the environment temperature is raised from 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, six to eight hours of light daily promotes healthy growth. Another step that can be taken to encourage growth is to eliminate the older parts of the plants that have yellowed to encourage the flow of nutrition as this creates some space in the roots system to absorb the solution. Many plants are vulnerable to rust and asparaguses suffer from this same weakness, especially during winter. As a preventive measure, their tops should be removed between fall and winter if they are grown outdoors.
Once the various environments mentioned above have been ensured at its various stages of growth, the most important factor regarding hydroponics is the nutrient solution. To fulfill the requirements of a nutrient solution for asparagus, a specific solution will be needed. These solutions should ideally provide vital nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and calcium as well as many other important nutrients in small quantities. Even though there may be solutions that are marketed as all-purpose nutrition suitable for growing in soil and a hydroponic system, it is advisable to stick to a hydroponic specific solution as these solutions do not contain the necessary zinc, boron, iron, and magnesium in sufficient quantities for development in hydroponic systems. A measure of the amount of total nutrients in the solution is determined by the EC (electrical conductivity) level of the solution. The recommended EC level should be between 2.4 and 3.0 to ensure that in addition to receiving the right variety of nutrition, the asparagus plant is receiving sufficient amounts of nutrition as well.
Step 3: Putting Together A Nutrient Solution
Another factor to consider in the purchase of the nutrient solution is the PH level of the solution. The PH level of the solution determines how acidic or alkaline the solution is. The acidity of the solution is important because it affects how much nutrients each plant will absorb from the solution. Within the ideal level of acidity from PH 5.5 to 6.5, most plants will likely absorb an ideal level of nutrients for growth. In the case of asparagus, a PH level of 6 to 6.8 is perfect for the continued growth of the adult plant. A sign that the PH solution level has strayed from the ideal levels would be the yellowing of the newer shoots of the plants. It is important to perform daily testing so that the PH level can be adjusted back accordingly.
Step 4: Harvesting Asparagus
Finally, we will be covering the hows of harvesting asparagus. Generally, the root system of the asparagus requires time to grow and it will only be ready for harvest in its 3rd year. When harvesting for the first time, there is only a window of a month to harvest the spears as the root system is still developing. From the fourth year onwards, it is safe to harvest spears that are five to eight inches long that have grown between eight to ten weeks of its first appearance. This will allow the shorter spears to grow into a healthier size and facilitate the continued development of the plant. To ensure that the shorter and younger spears are not harmed during the harvesting process, a good way of harvesting would be to grab the spear by its base and snap it off. As opposed to cutting, this prevents the shorter spears from being damaged by accident which will affect the health of the plant and quantity of future yields.
And voila! You now have the ultimate guide to growing asparagus hydroponically. Besides using minimal effort, it is also a unique and trendy way to grow a full-sized production of asparagus. Try your hand at it today!