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 16°C and 30°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 40 cm 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 - 40 cm 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 - 2 cm/half-inch in diameter. Leave the rest to grow into the leafy ferns (1.5 m/5 - 6 ft 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 May 24, Jimmy O (USA - Zone 7b climate)
Can I plant my crowns in Early May or do I need to wait until the fall
19 May 24, Melinda (USA - Zone 8a climate)
If you take care to water and watch for pests like fire ants etc... You could actually put crowns in anytime in months that have workable soil in your proposed asparagus beds... they take a long time to harvest when you first put them in so I suggest getting them in ASAP if you have some waiting. They do quite well here in part shade (Pitt County, NC) and they are VERY forgiving and productive. We have the purple asparagus and it puts out shoots ongoing from early spring and sporadically though hot summer... mostly goes to fern mode in hot weather but still will make occasional shoots out of the norm. As long as you fan out the roots as much as possible and plant them properly they should be fine.
11 May 24, (USA - Zone 7b climate)
The start of spring.
07 Apr 24, Gert van Wyk (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I have a few asperagus plants in my garden, do I have to cut down the branches above the soil and when, for them to produce more.
11 May 24, (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Cut them down in late winter and then eat the new shoots in the spring time.
29 Mar 24, Jim Bell (Canada - Zone 5b Temperate Warm Summer climate)
I was planning on planting asparagus between my grape vines which are new and will be I’m hoping on wires 4 ft above ground. Would the ferns be too high to grow without shading out the grapes?
09 Apr 24, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I would suggest you don't. Asparagus need their own area to grow in "full sunlight". They will be there for 20+ years and they spread a bit as the crown grows. You pick the new asparagus shoots (they need full sun then) for about 10-12 weeks and then let the ferns grow (they reach about 4').
26 Mar 24, Rod Ferguson (Canada - Zone 4b Temperate Warm Summer climate)
I live in Midland, 50 miles north of our largest harvesting area Allison. Asparagus is my favourite vegetable but Ontario seems to have a season of only a month or so. How does asparagus from Mexico or Peru be available year round? If asparagus was planted in northern Ontario—such as in the agricultural belt near New Liskeard—would our harvesting time be correspondingly extended?
13 Mar 24, Peg (USA - Zone 10a climate)
Can I still plant crowns in March? What varieties are suggested for my area? Florida zoom 10. Can I plant them in the ground or would a grow bag be better?
02 Mar 24, Nancy (USA - Zone 9b climate)
I planted crowns last year in a raised bed. As of today, March 2nd, I have a lot of spears and ferns that are 3-4 feet high. Do I continue to let them grow or cut it all down at the soil level? Can’t seem to find the right answer.
Showing 1 - 10 of 564 comments

What varieties of asparagus will do well in zone 8a? I live West of Fort Worth, Texas I wish to buy 2 year old or older “Crowns”.

- JERRY BAKER

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