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 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 Oct 21, Kimberley (Australia - temperate climate)
My first attempts at growing asparagus were from seedlings. Very slow growth and few spears. Then I put in Mary Washington crowns 2yrs old. The first year I harvested a handful of spears. This is the second year- I’ve had continuous harvest since a early spring. As suggested, I’ve let a few ferns grow so that the crowns can develop and will increase my feeding so I get more spears next year. I have boy and girl crowns. Do you recommend an all purpose fertiliser at this time ?
20 Oct 21, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Asparagus takes about 4 years to be in good production. I assume when buying crowns they are 12 mths old (probably less). This is what I do sub tropical - mid August I cut the old ferns off, give the patch a good watering, then apply a generous amount of NPK of about 12-4-14, give a watering and then put 6 (??)
04 Sep 21, bill (New Zealand - temperate climate)
we have a asparagus plant that appeared in a place in our garden where we had not grown any last year produced 1 or 2 very thin spears that went to fern this year there is one normal size spear just coming up should we class this as 1st or 2nd year
07 Sep 21, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
If it germinated approx 1 year ago it would be 1 year old. You need to really look after this plant with compost/manures/fertiliser and regular watering. You won't produce a decent crop until the 4th year. Also I suggest you have 3-6 plants if you want a decent amount of spears each couple of days.
03 Sep 21, Peter Wise (Australia - temperate climate)
Can you please tell me how to look after asparagus after growing it from seed since November 2020. How and when to fertilise. Live in melbourne thanks in advance
12 Sep 21, (Australia - temperate climate)
And from seed
07 Sep 21, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You generally plant the crowns/plants now early spring. Grow in full sun. Dig a hole 2-3 times the size of the pot they are in now, mix a little fertilise in the soil in the bottom of the hole, plant the asparagus and water well. If it is still coldish in Melbourne wait until next month. Water 2-3 times a week depending on how hot/cold it is and whether your soil is light or heavy. Mix some compost or manures into your soil if heavy. In the future - cut the ferns off in late winter, give a good watering, then give a good fertilising and put about 4-6
22 Aug 21, Kathleen Clarke (Australia - temperate climate)
My asparagus plants are at least 6 years old I get a lot of skinny spears I think they are female spears How do I encourage thicker spears?
29 Aug 21, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Do you use any fertiliser?
20 Jul 21, Larga Parker (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
You can buy seeds and crowns (depending on the season) from Livingseeds in Midvaal. They have a online website with plenty of organic heirloom seeds.
Showing 1 - 10 of 468 comments

Hi Andrew. I bought my first packet of 5 one year old Asparagus crowns from Mitre 10 in Hastings in 2 Sep 2016. I bought another packet of 5 crowns from The Warehouse in Hastings on 25 August 2017. I planted and fed them in accordance with the instructions on the packets and have had my first feed of Asparagus on 21 Sep 2018 (from the 2016 plants). My husband and 2 children then had their first feed on 15 Oct 2018. We harvested our asparagus until 21 Nov 2018 and then let them go to fern. We did not touch the 2017 plants at all but will be able to eat them in spring 2019 until early November and also be able to eat as much as we can from our 2016 plants with continued harvest through to the middle or end of December at least.

- Teia

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