Growing Asparagus

Aspargus officianalis : Asparagaceae / the asparagus family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S                  
        T              

(Best months for growing Asparagus in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • Easy to grow. Plant as crowns. Best planted at soil temperatures between 61°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 16 inches apart
  • Harvest in 2-3 years. Plant 'crowns' to harvest earlier .
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Parsley, Basil, Nasturtiums, Lettuce
  • Avoid growing close to: Garlic, Onions, and root vegetables
  • Asparagus growing
  • Baby Asparagus Seedlings (approx 6cm/3in) ((c) Liz Hutchinson)

Plant crowns (roots) 20-40cm apart and a few cm (1 inch) deep in well manured soil. The asparagus shoots grow in spring. Harvest the shoots which are bigger than 1-2cm/half-inch in diameter. Leave the rest to grow into the leafy ferns (1.5m/5-6ft tall) which will feed the crowns to give a crop next year. In autumn the ferns will be covered in bright red poisonous berries. Leave the ferns to die down in autumn, then trim off the dead stalks and pile on plenty of rotted manure/compost to give the roots plenty of food to produce new stems in spring.

Harvest by cutting off the stalk, close to the ground. From the third year you can get an additional crop by letting the first lot of ferns grow, then bending down the stalks to break them. A second crop of shoots will grow and can be harvested. Leave subsequent shoots to grow on to ferns. Asparagus does not like continuously wet and warm soil. It grows better where there is a cool or frosty season.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Asparagus

Steaming is traditional, then coating with melted butter or hollandaise sauce.
Alternatively break in short lengths, and cook quickly in hot oil in a wok and sprinkle with soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.

NOTE: The asparagus berries are poisonous. Only the young shoots are edible.

Your comments and tips

04 Nov 22, Joann Reifel (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
We actually live in Sierra Leone. We have had our plants for several years. We keep watering them through dry season (Mid Nov-April) so they won't die. Will they die if left alone or just hibernate? Also, should we trim fronds off at all or bend them over to reseed (they have multiplied on their own fairly well). And when should we add compost?
10 Nov 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I cut my ferns off late winter (August), apply compost and fertilise and water well. I pick all spears until the end of Oct (2 mths) then I let the ferns grow. I water each week. I do another picking in Feb for 3-4 weeks. Then I let grow again. I water until end of Autumn. Then let the ferns die back. Cut off end of winter. I cut my ferns off water really well. apply 100-150mm of compost and fertilise and water well. Spears usually start shooting straight away (early Sept). I live Sub-tropical Australia.
27 Oct 22, DIEDRE BRAY (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, should asparagus be staked. Every time my asparagus matures the stems always blow over.
30 Oct 22, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have a patch about 1.5m x 1m and I put a few stakes around the edges with 2-3 ropes up the stakes to keep them tidy.
20 Oct 22, Shelby Stone (USA - Zone 7b climate)
How do I start asparagus from seed in the fall? Do I sow directly into the ground or start indoors? Zone 7b Thank you!
25 Oct 22, Anonymous (USA - Zone 7b climate)
It suggests to plant Nov Dec. Start them in pots or trays. They are very fine little seedlings and need close attention with watering. Some sun, some shade during the day until they are a few inches high.
22 Sep 22, Atang Tlopo (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I want to know if I can get two years old Asparagus crowns.
26 Sep 22, (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Probably not - if so probably expensive. In Australia a 9 mth crown is about $10 - a 2 yr old probably $30 and you would need 3-6.
27 Aug 22, LYNETTE J HOULIHAN (Australia - tropical climate)
I bought and planted 4 (2 green, 2 purple) Bunnings asparagus seedlings in a very large trough/planter. I have very healthy looking plants (look like dill) about 45 cms high. Do I Just leave these or is there something I should do. Thanks.
02 Sep 22, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Just water and fertilise them. Will take 3 years before you start to produce a reasonable crop. Read up about growing them.
Showing 1 - 10 of 518 comments

Check around your area what varieties are grown - internet, nurseries, stores that sell seeds and bulbs.

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