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Growing Asparagus

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

(Best months for growing Asparagus in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Plant crowns

  • 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

25 Apr 19, Sean0 Wilson (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
When do I cut down my asparagus ferns to prepare the bed for winter? At the moment – still quite lush and green. I’m from Chch.
06 May 19, Green thumb (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Cut the ferns in late August and put compost or composted manure on it. Stop watering them now.
20 Apr 19, Michelle (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have grown some asparagus from seeds and they are about two inches high. I really want to plant them in the garden now (because I remember to water my veggie garden but often forget to water the seedlings so I just want to get them in the garden so they are better looked after also they don't dry out so quickly there as well.) Is it Ok to plant them now and will they survive the Pukekohe/Auckland winter in the vegetable garden and all come up in spring?
16 Apr 19, John (Australia - temperate climate)
When we planted crowns about 4 years ago, most seemed to be male. But each year, more and more of the plants started bearing the red berries, indicating female. This year, they are almost ALL carrying red berries. Any thoughts?
15 Apr 19, Lynne Harriman (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
hi do you recommend pulling out the flowering female aspauagus plants as i've read they do not produce sprouts well. thanks
05 Apr 19, Maria (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
When is the best time to sow Asparagus seeds please? Information here instructions crowns with season. Thank you
25 Mar 19, Sally (Australia - temperate climate)
My asparagus plants were planted as crowns last winter and have flourished as great big ferny bushes all summer. I'm a bit puzzled as to why they are still pushing up big fat shoots in early autumn! I don't want to cut them because they are less than a year old, but shouldn't they be going to sleep by now?
22 Apr 19, Robyn Vaughan (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
When I lived at the Mid North coast of NSW my asparagus didn't die down until May/Jun, when it became quite cold. Leave it be as these fronds are putting energy into the base and to cut them will only produce more new shoots and sap energy that will be otherwise be stored and used to sprout them next season. I know how frustrating first year asparagus crowns can be! Be sure to mulch well after they die down to protect the crowns.
15 Mar 19, Loulou (Australia - temperate climate)
What’s a good position for them in terms of sun? I’m in Melbourne.
18 Mar 19, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Full sun probably in temperate zone.
Showing 1 - 10 of 332 comments

Late winter and at ground level or just below. Then cover them with about 4-6 cm mulch.

- Mike

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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