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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 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

28 Sep 19, Maryanne house (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have just noticed that I have spears on my asparagus. They have been in the ground for 2 years. My query is to do with the ferns that are still there from last year. The ferns did not die down and I read somewhere to leave the ferns and that they would die of their own accord.But they did not so I guess this was incorrect. So... do I now cut off all the ferns as the spears are now appearing or do I reduce the number of ferns? In future do I cut off all the ferns when the spears stop appearing or at a specific time frame? ( say Jan Feb? ). Thanks in advance for your assistance.
30 Sep 19, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Are they two years old from seed or crowns?I believe the ferns die in the colder weather but not in sub-tropics /tropics. I'm sub tropic and they have not died in the last 3 years. I even stopped watering in early May this year and we have had a very dry time since then. I would cut the old ones out. Pick some of the new spears and eat. Depending on how many spears you are getting probably stop picking in about 4 weeks and let grow for next year. You have to let the crown grow in the first 2-3 years. In future from about Nov or so let the spears go to ferns-even while you are picking leave a couple go to ferns. Leave the ferns there until mid August-the ferns are growing the crown and storing nutrient in the crown for spears next year. Then cut them off and put 50-75mm of compost or aged manure on them and start watering them. And by compost I mean fully broken down organic matter or manure. Not mulch.
03 Sep 19, Kirstee (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Is it possible to grow asparagus in pots? I am currently renting so unable to plant in the ground.
04 Sep 19, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You probably would need a pot about 700-900mm diameter and 600mm+ deep - maybe deeper. Mighty heavy to move when full of soil. It take 2-3 yrs before picking a decent amount. The supermarket maybe a better option. =
26 Aug 19, Steve chatha (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I want to buy asparagus dried roots. Im staying in Hermanus-Overbeg capetown
18 Aug 19, Anne Davey (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Can you spray for weeds around the asparagus in winter?
19 Aug 19, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Three suggestions 1. Straight after you cut all the dead ferns off in winter spray the weeds - not recommended really you could kill the plants. 2. Give the ground a watering and pull the weeds out by hand - recommended. 3. Don't let the weeds grow much pull them out as they germinate. At the moment I have dozens of tomato seeds germinating from the mulch/compost I just put on my asparagus.
15 Aug 19, Jenni (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have bought tiny ferns of asparagus,2-3inches high, which i'm about to plant. i'm not sure what the different terms mean or look like? ie roots shoots ferns crowns . in what sequence do they grow and when.
16 Aug 19, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
After 6 months or so your little ferns will have a hard bulb - that is the crown - this will grow bigger. Next time you go to Bunnings look for asparagus bulbs - about 9 mnths old. From the crown you will have roots - just like any plant has. After you have trimmed off your asparagus plants in the winter and it warms up, shoots come out of the ground - these are called spears - these are the things you cut off and eat. If these are left to grow then they become ferns. GO on the internet and type in growing asparagus and read read,
13 Aug 19, JERRY BAKER (USA - Zone 8a climate)
What varieties of asparagus will do well in zone 8a? I live West of Fort Worth, Texas I wish to buy 2 year old or older “Crowns”.
Showing 1 - 10 of 367 comments

John why are you saying that most appeared male? Did they produce male flowers with stamens? Or are you basing your assumption on the lack of berries in autumn? Regardless, female plants produce berries, males don't produce berries, very few asparagus plants are hermaphrodites so the ones with berries are female. Perhaps they were all female, more likely you allowed seed to fall, it sprouted and produced more female plants.

- Chris Dawson

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