Growing Asparagus

Aspargus officianalis : Asparagaceae / the asparagus family

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

25 Jul 22, Maura (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Thank you. I will wait until spring next year, even if fronds are browning. I have picked and eaten the emerging early spears. And I have covered the plot with heavy shade mesh on a frame, to avert any frost damage. This is the first time in 5 years that the spears have come up in July!
11 Jul 22, Maura (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Have just cut down old fronds. Noticed a few new asparagus spears coming up. It is still winter, and as we get frosts here in Ballarat, should I cover the crowns with some mesh do that they don’t get burned, or just accept the loss until spring flush?
12 Jul 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Pays to read the notes here. It does say they like cold and frosty weather. Don't cut fronds until end of August.
18 Jul 22, Maura (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Thank you. I cut down the ferns because they were browning. Thought it was correct. That asparagus like cold and frosty weather, do the early emerging spears not get burnt by frost at -3C?
19 Jul 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
i live sub tropical. A natural tendency to cut some thing is for it to grow, so don't cut until Spring. I have some spears shooting throughout the year, even now. You cut the new spears off when they are 200-250mm long and eat them. What -3C does I don't know but you should know by now.
14 Jun 22, Desert dwelling gardener wannabe (USA - Zone 9b climate)
What is the best variety of asparagus to grow in zone 9b?
17 Jun 22, Anonymous (USA - Zone 9b climate)
No planting time for asparagus in your climate zone. Maybe wrong climate.
05 Jun 22, Norelle Evans (Australia - tropical climate)
Hello, I’m from QLD Townsville and enquiring where I can source good green stock Asparagus from? and approx costing. Thanking you for your time and help Regards, Norelle Evans
15 Jun 22, Margaret (Australia - temperate climate)
The Seed Collection have them at a very reasonable price.
06 Jun 22, (Australia - tropical climate)
If you have a Bunnings store contact them about when they might have them and cost. Usually August and about $10+ per crown. Or try internet seed selling companies.
Showing 1 - 10 of 503 comments

Mine are 5 years old and I put compost and rooster booster on mine in late August after trimming back old growth. I pick for about 10 weeks, let the ferns grow until mid Jan and cut back again. Compost and rooster booster again and pick for 4 weeks. Then let it go ferns again. Mainly have it on toast for breaky.

- Mike

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