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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

01 Apr 20, Barb (Australia - arid climate)
I do two picks of my patch one now (mid march) the other later in the year does any one else do this an how many weeks do they usually pick for my dad use to pick for 4/6 weeks but friend only picks 2 or so whos right lol thanks
02 Apr 20, Another gardener (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I'm sub tropical. My plants are 3 years old. I cut the old growth off late August, new spears shoot soon after. I pick for about 6 weeks - the ferns get away from me. This year in January I cut my ferns off and picked asparagus for about a month. The important part is to let the ferns grow and store food back into the crowns for next spring. If you over pick the spears or pick them too long it will not give the plant time to build the crown for next year.
20 Mar 20, Faye McPeak (Australia - temperate climate)
Can I divide asparagus plants and when do I do it. I live on The Central Coast of NSW Thank you all in advance.
22 Mar 20, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have just read that you can divide into 1/4 or 1/2 but not to pick spears the first year after dividing. Do it in the early spring. Google about it and read.
29 Feb 20, Melchior Henn (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Where can I buy asparagus heads. I live in Heidelberg Western Cape. Nearest possible supplier please.
02 Mar 20, Anon (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
The asparagus head is the shoot that comes out of the soil in spring time. You eat that part. To plant asparagus you need seeds or better you buy asparagus crowns (a bulb) usually about 6-9mtns old. Ask at your nursery or big gardening stores when will they have them in. You usually plant them in the early spring.
05 Feb 20, Frank A. Davis (USA - Zone 9a climate)
I live just North of Houston, Texas (20 miles) and I wanted to know if there was any way that Asparagus can be grown here. If so, what is there name or names?
06 Feb 20, anon (Australia - arid climate)
Work out your climate zone from the blue tab above. Then check asparagus and look in the calendar to see what month you can plant or google it..
03 Feb 20, ASHWANI BHATNAGAR (Canada - Zone 8a Mild Temperate climate)
Hi, I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I want to start growing Asparagus in my very small backyard to start with. I am looking for someone who can guide me. I am ready to pay consulting fees. Please advise. Best Regards, Ash
06 Feb 20, anonymous (Australia - arid climate)
Work out your climate zone from the blue tab above and then check to see if you can plant asparagus in the calendar table at the top.
Showing 1 - 10 of 380 comments

I was told never to trim the ferny bits as they harness strength for the crown & help develop bigger & better spears for the following season. Is this incorrect. I bought crowns from K-Mart over 15 years ago. Had them in a small pot. They grew, they 'died', they grew again & died again. I decided to transplant them into a large garbage bin, about 75cm deep. They grew & produced lovely tasting, about 3/4 cm thick spears, over the last two years. I've fed very randomly (haven't been well for long while) sometimes Dynamic Lifter, sometimes Seasol, sometimes Complete Fertilizer. I don't think I've even fed them once a year!!! I'm trying to show them some loving respect now, & so shocked at how they tolerated gross neglect & still gave me precious, delicious spears to just pick & eat...never made it to the kitchen!!

- jenny mullins

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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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