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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 in the garden.

  • 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 in same bed): Parsley, Basil, Nasturtiums, Lettuce
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Garlic, Onions, and root vegetables
  • Seedlings (approx 6cm/3in)
    Seedlings (approx 6cm/3in)

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 Mar 17, Tony Bartlett (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Can I grow asparagus down in the cape, near Hermanus. Also where down in that area can I purchase crowns. many thanks
20 Mar 17, Ken (Australia - temperate climate)
Asparagus is a very hardy plant and you should have no difficulty growing it. Try googling 'Asparagus crowns in South Africa" and you will find a number of suppliers. Asparagus crowns are often available from nurseries, garden centres, hardware stores and online during the winter.
15 Mar 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Keep the seeds in a cool dry place. I kept watering my asparagus all the way into July last year - spears kept coming up. When I did cut them in August, new spears appeared in week or so. I gave my 3 plants a big hair cut a week ago. I have 4 x 6' posts at the corners of the garden bed and cord running around the post to support the ferns. The ferns grow to 6-8' high. I only cut spears for 1 month last year (2 yr old plant). In hindsight I could have cut them for another 4-6 weeks. The crowns are now about 15" in diameter (2.5 yrs old now). The little seedlings I planted out in Sept are still growing - the shade cloth cover did the trick. The last 2.5 mths have seen the temp in the 32-34 degree area (3 d above average). Have grown quite well in this rather hot weather. Looking forward to August - November to having a great feed off them.
11 Mar 17, Fiona (Australia - temperate climate)
Can I gather the berries now in Autumn and keep them to sow in Spring? Should I keep the seeds cool?
12 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
There's no reason not too. Mother Nature does it! Plant them in a row about 75 mm (3") sapart and separate them the following winter for planting in their permanent position. All the best.
17 Feb 17, Dil (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Where can I purchase a Ming fern plant in Melbourne
18 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Ming Fern (asparagus) seed is listed on ebay. It is fairly easy to grow from seed. If you search for it on the internet you will find nurseries that have it in Melbourne. It is listed as an environmental weed in NSW and can't be purchased in that state. Trust this helps
11 Feb 17, Alex (Australia - temperate climate)
I have just bought a house in southeastern SA and it has a large raised asparagus bed. The ferns are over a metre tall and mostly still green, do I cut them back to ground level when they yellow or just leave them till they fall naturally, also, should I water them or not? I believe the asparagus is about 5 years old.
13 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Do not cut the ferns back until they start to turn yellow. They are building up the crowns for next seasons crop. Add compost or wel rotted manure in late autumn or winter will also boost your yield.
10 Feb 17, Lisa (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, This is my third asparagus year. My asparagus is growing in high raised garden beds. I have the most amazingly tall healthy ferns - they are so tall and prolific you can hardly get past them to the other raised beds. There aren't that many spears though. Will they come? Or am I destined to have a jungle of ferns? Does this happen? I did not pick many spears again this year, I left most to turn into my jungle.
Showing 1 - 10 of 219 comments

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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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