Growing Asparagus

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) 20-40cm 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

03 Sep 20, Michael Archer (Australia - temperate climate)
a bit hard to stop watering in Perth at this time I might knock it down at the end of summer and try to pick a few late spears then
04 Sep 20, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Cut back the watering from end of May. If you keep watering and have a warmish winter it keeps growing. The idea is for the plant to put a lot of energy etc back into the crown (from the ferns) mid summer to Autumn. That is what allows the plant to send up spears during Spring. This time of the year you should have the ferns cut off, put 100-150 (?) of compost on top and applied some fertiliser and be watering heaps. At the moment I'm picking 12-15 spears each third day from 4 crowns.
29 Aug 20, Jenni Orr (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Want to order some crowns in Pukekohe. Where to order from?
01 Sep 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Google seed selling websites in NZ.
22 Aug 20, Chris McGeough (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Heads are just coming up but are being eaten by something very small that is killing each head off or leaving scars. Put some chook manure on a couple of months ago and wonder if its bugs in that? Any help would be great.
24 Aug 20, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
It might be slugs or snails, try using something to kill or deter them.
24 Aug 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Google it - bugs that eat asparagus. Probably have to go out at night to see them. Then look for a spray, organic or chemical. Maybe don't use chook manure, or compost it before putting it on. I don't put compost/manure on until mid-late August.
17 Aug 20, Michael Archer (Australia - temperate climate)
I purchased some purple asparagus seedlings 1 year ago (Aug 19) Perth WA Planted them out Dec 19. 1 large female bush is still growing spears up to 15mm thick in July 20 and shows no signs of weakening. I have resisted the temptation to eat the spears, but with spring approaching I am wondering if I should prune it or just leave it to the ravages of climate change. Needless to say I am collecting the berries. Michael
19 Aug 20, Anonymous (Australia - temperate climate)
A suggestion, stop watering asparagus at the end of May, let the ferns die off. Then around now to early September, cut all the ferns off at ground level. Scatter some fertiliser on the top of the soil and put 150mm of compost/manures etc on top of that. Start water again.
29 Jul 20, Terri (Australia - temperate climate)
We live on the Edge of the Great Swamp, near Koo Wee Rup in Victoria, where most of Australia's asparagus is grown. The plants are in full sun constantly, and in peaty soil which is constantly wet. You should be fine.
Showing 1 - 10 of 420 comments

Here in South Carolina, my asparagus grow April-Oct. So you may need to let them store food for 6-7 months. Clemson Extension says let the ferns grow with out cutting/harvesting spears, in July cut the ferns back & harvest new spears. So I guess you could cut them back a week or two before you want to harvest the new spears. I, however have not tried this .

- Joe Legrand

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