White asparagus is green asparagus grown under the cover of soil or dark plastic, unexposed to sunlight. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening. Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Asparagus spears grow in early summer from a perennial crown, providing you with a steady harvest for many years. It turns green when it reaches up into the sunlight. The green asparagus stalks are picked after they break through the soil and are exposed to the sun to develop chlorophyll, which is what makes them green. White asparagus, botanical name Asparagus officinalis, is a member of the Liliaceae family. White asparagus differs from the green variety in that it is grown underground and therefore does not depend on sunlight. Denying the spears daylight as they grow prevents photosynthesis from taking place and this is the process that produces the green colouring in plants. White asparagus season is celebrated with a passion in Germany, and I’ve come to the flat, castle-filled … 10 Indoor Gardening Ideas You Have to Try! Spread black plastic over the asparagus bed to block sunlight instead of mounding soil, if preferred. Allow subsequent plants to grow and produce foliage. White asparagus, however, is grown completely under the soil or covered with plastic so it is never exposed to sunlight. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Allow no more than the tip of each spear to remain above the mulch or soil so light doesn't reach the spears. In the spring, once all danger of frost has passed, dig a 12 inch deep furrow for each row of asparagus. Long, thick spears of white asparagus grown under mounds of earth and served up with butter and ham. The asparagus we see in stores is a shoot of a perennial plant. White asparagus isn't a special variety, it actually comes from the same plants as green asparagus. The white a… However, if you already have a patch of asparagus and would like to try growing white asparagus, cover the plants in the spring with a thick layer of mulch (eight inches or more). It's simply any asparagus grown in the dark, or blanched. During the first year of growth, be sure to cover the spears with mulch or soil, leaving no more than 1 or 2 inches of exposed spear. Store white asparagus in the refrigerator for up to one week. Check for aphids if the plants develop a blue-green color, or if a sticky residue is present on the leaves or stalks. Cut back the foliage each fall when it begins to die back naturally. If planting more than one row, space each row 18 inches apart. Asparagus stalks are perennial plants that will start to show themselves annual once the temperature reaches about 50 degrees. Therefore, the white asparagus is not exposed to sunlight and doesn't produce chlorophyll. Water the asparagus bed once weekly and provide about 1 inch of water each time. When the spears begin to stick out of the ground, producers will cover them with dirt or black plastic to keep them in the dark. Keep reading to learn how to grow white asparagus in this easy to follow gardening guide! If you'd rather not cover the asparagus with mulch or soil, you can simply lay down black plastic over the plants. Spray the asparagus with insecticidal soap to destroy these pests, or try organic methods such as introducing natural predators, including lady beetles and parasitic wasps. White and green asparagus are grown the same way but there’s one huge difference in the process. Check out this. If the plant has a blue-greenish color, or if there is sticky residue on the plant, aphids may be present. Is white asparagus good? © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Move the mulch or soil aside once the spears grow 6 to 8 inches tall and reach 1/4- to 1/2-inch diameter. White asparagus requires the same care as green spears, except you must prevent access to sunlight during the productive weeks when the harvestable spears are putting on new growth. While both varieties of asparagus require the same care, you have to prevent sunlight during the productive weeks. White asparagus is white because it is grown without being exposed to light, preventing photosynthesis and therefore the production of chlorophyll. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. The basic difference between green and white asparagus relates back to its roots—literally. The reason why white asparagus is more expensive than green has to do with this different growing process. Unlike green asparagus, white asparagus is grown without light, under mounds of earth where the shoots remain covered as they grow. Growing Red Cabbage: How to Grow & Plant Red Cabbage, How to Grow Egyptian Spinach AKA Molokhia, How to Grow Green Zebra Tomatoes in Your Garden, 8 Rules for Healthy Houseplants That Everyone Should Know, 15 Low Maintenance & Pet Friendly Houseplants. The fall before planting, turn the soil in a full-sun area of your garden, and loosen to about 12 inches in depth. As it begins to grow, soil is piled onto the seedling to keep it in the dark – a very labour intensive process which explains … Growing Conditions Make All the Difference The difference between green and white asparagus is that white asparagus is grown underground. PlantInstructions.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for websites to earn referral/advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. White asparagus tends to be much thicker than green asparagus; by harvesting just the tips of the plant, Melissa’s offers the best of the best! While they require the same growth rules, white asparagus doesn't receive sunlight and therefore it doesn't produce green chlorophyll (what makes plants green)! Popular throughout Europe, it’s farmed in Germany, Switzerland, the … There are many varieties of asparagus to choose from with the most visibly different being the purple varieties. Purple asparagus comes from certain varieties of asparagus, but the difference between white vs. green asparagus is in its growing method. There are three kinds of asparagus deriving from the same plant: most common is the green asparagus, which grows out of the soil, catches the sunlight, develops chlorophyll and is plugged from the Earth year-round. Inspect plants for for fuzzy red spots that indicate rust throughout the growing season and especially in wet or foggy weather. Sprinkle a 1-inch layer of compost in the bottom of the furrow and cover it with 2 inches of soil. Farmers piled a thick mound of dirt over the white asparagus or cover it with black plastic to ensure that not a single ray of sunlight hits the spears, a process known as etiolation. Turn the soil in a full-sun garden bed with a spade the fall before planting, loosening it to a 12-inch depth. While white asparagus is grown in a dark environment, either underground or well covered, the green version gets to soak up all the sunlight. The productive weeks are when the harvestable spears are putting on new growth. Space rows 18 inches apart if you plant more than one row. If you purchase a product via those links through Amazon, Amazon will pay us a referral fee, at no extra cost to you. Dig a 12-inch-deep furrow for each asparagus row immediately before planting in spring, after frost danger is past. Growing White Asparagus Asparagus requires a fair amount of space and direct sunlight to grow, and you can't harvest for two to three years after planting. White asparagus stalks are picked before they peek through the soil–they never see the sun. Do not harvest any spears the first two years after planting, so the asparagus can establish healthy roots. Spread a 3-inch layer of compost over the bed and work it into the loosened soil. Proper spacing minimizes pests and disease. You see, white asparagus is green asparagus, only blanched. Without chlorophyll the asparagus does not produce any pigment or color. It’s “created” by blocking all light from the growing spears. Denying the spears daylight as they grow prevents photosynthesis from taking place and this is the process that produces the green coloring in plants. It also has a bitter skin which needs to be removed prior to cooking. A lot of care goes into harvesting and preparing white asparagus, or spargel , since it is, for the most part, harvested by hand in Germany. Simply put, white asparagus is grown underground. So now that you know how to grow white asparagus, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting! On the continent it is more popular than its green counterpart, but it has only recently been grown in Britain. Pull any weeds that grow in the bed immediately so they don't establish themselves. It does not see daylight until it is harvested. White asparagus is grown underground. As the asparagus spears start to grow, fill the trench with soil gradually. White asparagus grows from the same plants that produce green spears. Both, however, are available in the spring. The asparagus remains white because the spears don't receive sunlight, so they don't produce green chlorophyll. It never see the light of day (literally! Plant the crowns with the bud side facing up every 18 inches along the furrow. Simply cut the asparagus spears at the base using a sharp knife once plants are 6-8 inches in height and 1/4-1/2 inch in diameter. Check out this article on. Patience is key when growing asparagus, but once the 2 years are up, you can go ahead and move the soil or mulch aside and harvest! Asparagus Officinalis is the Latin name for the rod-like vegetable that’s harvested and eaten all around the world. This is so that the sunlight does not reach the asparagus. White asparagus is the same as green asparagus, but grown without daylight. ), so it never gets a chance to develop chlorophyll. Actually, white asparagus is not genetically different from the green kind. White asparagus is the same plant as green asparagus, but it lacks color because it's grown underground. After all, other French regions produce white asparagus, which grows under cover to avoid sunlight, and requires more peeling before cooking because of its tougher, bitter skin. Remove any weeds that may come about. White asparagus is the same plant as green asparagus, but it’s grown in darkness, either by being covered up by dirt mounds or with a thick tarp. White asparagus is simply green asparagus that has never seen the light of day. The way white asparagus is grown is that it's covered in a thick layer of mulch and dark plastic so that no sunlight reaches the spears.This way the vegetable never gets a chance to turn green because no photosynthesis takes place. We’ve already talked about the things you should know about white asparagus, from how it’s grown and what to look for when you’re buying it to the best way to prepare it for cooking. Build up a mulch or soil layer around the spears as they grow the first year you plan to harvest. White asparagus, which is only available during the spring months, is the same as green asparagus only it’s grown under a mound of dirt. You can usually spot the first bundles white asparagus (Spargel) at German farmers’ markets in the middle of March, but at staggeringly high prices, since the season is yet to officially begin. Without sunglight photosynthesis is unable to take place meaning the shoots don't develop a colour, instead retaining their characteristic ghostly whiteness. China, Peru, Mexico, and Germany are the four largest producers, Peru the largest exporter. Sprinkle a 1 inch layer of compost in the bottom of the furrow and cover with 2 inches of soil. White asparagus is not a separate variety but is grown under different growing conditions.. Whilst some varieties are naturally taller or thinner than others growing conditions also affect the … Planting White Asparagus: The fall before planting, turn the soil in a full-sun area of your garden, and loosen to about 12 inches in depth. Despite its high price, white asparagus is quite easy to grow, especially if you already have an established asparagus patch. It comes up from a set of roots that have stored food that was made by the leaves of the plant during the last growing season. While green asparagus is a bit grassy, white asparagus is sweeter with a very mild flavor. Growing white asparagus is the same as growing green asparagus, which has a very wide climatic range of possibility, so long as someone or something wants to provide the sunscreen. Spread a 3 inch layer of compost onto the bed and work into the soil. White asparagus is the same as green asparagus but grown without daylight. Check for aphids. It is grown under thick layers of mulch and sometimes dark plastic so no photosynthesis takes place. This prevents photosynthesis, keeping the spears milky white. Spread a 3 inch layer of compost onto the bed and work into the soil. In the spring, once all danger of frost has passed, dig a 12 inch deep furrow for each row of asparagus. The plant is grown under soil or some other covering to block out the sun’s rays, preventing photosynthesis and the development of chlorophyll, which turns the spears green. Covering the white asparagus prevents it from producing chlorophyll, the naturally occurring chemical that turns the vegetable green. Harvest your white asparagus spears over a 2 week period. But that technique is a lot of trouble, because it must be done daily, and it makes the spears grubby. As the spears of white asparagus grow, they’re completely covered with a thick mound of dirt or black plastic so they’re never exposed to the sunlight. Trim the woody ends, and use a vegetable peeler to remove the bottom two-thirds of each spear, then prepare the asparagus as desired. Water the asparagus beds once a week, providing about 1 inch of water each time. How to Grow Garlic Chives and Soil Temperature, University of California Marin Master Gardeners: Asparagus: Spears for Years, University of Missouri: Growing Asparagus in Missouri, How to Get Weeds Out of an Asparagus Patch, How to Mulch Asparagus in Cold Temperatures. White asparagus is simply green asparagus that has never seen the light of day. To achieve white asparagus, green asparagus plants must be … Always water near the base, and avoid watering the plants directly. This will allow the plants to replenish their nutrients for next year. Cut back the foliage each fall. The verdant asparagus pokes through the dirt as it grows, s… The most important thing to know when buying white asparagus is that the spears have tough, bitter skins that need to be peeled before they are eaten. Plant the crowns of the asparagus with the bud side facing up, spacing each plant 18 inches apart. Harvest asparagus over a two-week period, then allow the subsequent spears to grow and produce foliage, which allows the plants to replenish their nutrient stores for next year. To obtain the white, tender and somewhat sweet version of asparagus, farmers limit the plant’s light intake, burying it like a treasure under mounds of soil. Remove any stems or shoots that show signs of the disease, and dispose of them immediately to prevent the rust from spreading. When a shoot is still in the ground, it is white. Asparagus spears grow in early summer from a perennial crown, providing you with a steady harvest for many years. White asparagus grows from the same plants that produce green spears. Varieties used to produce White asparagus are thicker than the common green cultivars. As they grow, more dirt is mounded up around them, keeping them covered until harvest. Growing white asparagus is more labor intensive than growing green asparagus. Cover the crowns with soil until their tops sit 2 inches beneath the surface. But now the season’s officially started and you’ve perhaps already eaten a plate or two of it the classic German way, you might be wondering what else you can do with it. The traditional way to blanch asparagus is to mound mulch or sand around the spears as they emerge. Cut the spears off just below the soil surface with a sharp knife. Farmers cover it with soil as it grows, so the stalks don't undergo photosynthesis… Water the plants near their base to prevent wet foliage and minimize rust problems. The precise art of growing asparagus. 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