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

19 Apr 22, Dawn (USA - Zone 10a climate)
When you buy crowns does only one shoot grow from one crown? It looks like from pictures that there is more shoots coming up if your planting them 8 to 12 inches apart? Since we live in central coastal California is it best to go to a nursery in town for buying the two year old crowns?
21 Apr 22, (USA - Zone 5a climate)
The crown will produce many spears. As it grows it produces more and more over the years. Plant 2' apart. Buy 1 or 2 year crowns.
27 Jan 22, Lori (USA - Zone 9b climate)
I planted Asparagus last year. It has done very well and I fertilized,mulched when need to , or cut ferns when need. My question is, at the end of December, a few Asparagus began popping up, and tips purple. Is it ok for them to pop up that early?
28 Jan 22, Anonymous of Bundaberg (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You generally cut ferns off end of Winter and pick new spears for 2-3 months in the Spring, then let the ferns grow again to feed the crown for the following year. If the weather is warm enough they will keep sending up new spears until end of Autumn. I just cut mine off for a quick feed over the last month of summer. Mine are 5-6 years old. I'm in Australia - sub tropical.
22 Dec 21, Vicki (USA - Zone 7b climate)
What are the best asparagus to grow in Zone 7b, Virginia by the Bay.
28 Dec 21, Elisabeth (USA - Zone 7b climate)
I have a patch of purple passion which are tons sweeter than asparagus and they are great producers! We also have a patch of tried and true Millennium. We planted 10 crowns of each about four years ago, and they are enough for our family of 4 with some to spare. I'd love to freeze some and I'm thinking about starting a second patch of about 20 crowns to have some for preserving. Also, remember that when you plant your crowns, you don't harvest from them for two years. Just let them go to fern. They are quite lovely in a herbaceous border with other perennials. These are a gift to your future self! :)
23 Dec 21, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Google what varieties you have in the USA and try one or ask at a nursery.
08 Dec 21, KrC (USA - Zone 10b climate)
Hello. I planted a bed of asparagus last year and they grew beautifully. I did not harvest any stalks and the bed is full of ferns. I live in Los Angeles, where the weather has stayed quite temperate, even though it is now December, The ferns are still green. I'm concerned they may not die back fully in our climate. Can I cut the ferns down before they brown without harming the plant?
11 Dec 21, (USA - Zone 6b climate)
I stop watering in mid Autumn and cut my ferns off end of Winter. This gives them time to die off. The first year I watered and fertilised through winter.
24 Nov 21, pete Basabe (USA - Zone 12b climate)
Hi, Something is eating my asparagus below the soil line. The new shoots are being hallowed out like small caverns below the soil line. This quickly weakens the shoot and then it dries up and dies. The only insects I can find are small (1/4 in) round black beetle like insects that live in the dirt around the new stalks. The full grown stalks do not seem to be affected by these little guys. Any ideas? Thanks, Pete
Showing 1 - 10 of 50 comments

How much sun do asparagus plants need? I live in zone 7.

- cheri

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