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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

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.
02 Jul 19, Lee (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I am about to plant a raised garden bed with Asparagus, I have done the research but am confused with the depth that the crowns should be planted. Would any of those that have had success give me a little advice. Thanks in advance - Lee
03 Jul 19, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Plant a few inches deep (3-4
04 Jul 19, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
3-4
25 Apr 19, Sean0 Wilson (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
When do I cut down my asparagus ferns to prepare the bed for winter? At the moment – still quite lush and green. I’m from Chch.
06 May 19, Green thumb (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Cut the ferns in late August and put compost or composted manure on it. Stop watering them now.
20 Apr 19, Michelle (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have grown some asparagus from seeds and they are about two inches high. I really want to plant them in the garden now (because I remember to water my veggie garden but often forget to water the seedlings so I just want to get them in the garden so they are better looked after also they don't dry out so quickly there as well.) Is it Ok to plant them now and will they survive the Pukekohe/Auckland winter in the vegetable garden and all come up in spring?
29 Nov 18, Ainsley Armishaw (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Our asparagus is in its third year, grown from crowns, how many stalks should I leave each year to flower and when can you cut off the stalks that have been left
29 Nov 18, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
In the spring you pick the spears after they come out of the ground - stop late Oct early Nov. To have a good crop next year you need to leave all spears/ferns to grow. These then provide food for the crown to grow for next year. Stop watering about early May and let the ferns die back. Cut the ferns off in August. As soon as I cut mine the spears start growing.
Showing 1 - 10 of 18 comments

I have grown some asparagus from seeds and they are about two inches high. I really want to plant them in the garden now (because I remember to water my veggie garden but often forget to water the seedlings so I just want to get them in the garden so they are better looked after also they don't dry out so quickly there as well.) Is it Ok to plant them now and will they survive the Pukekohe/Auckland winter in the vegetable garden and all come up in spring?

- Michelle

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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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