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

22 Nov 20, Shona Mardle (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My 3rd year for asparagus, so first year picking with abundance. I seem to have a lot of tall skinny spindly hard shoots. I have been cutting them off. Why are they growing? Is it something I am doing wrong? Does the plant need them?
23 Nov 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Mine are 3-4 years old. What I do now. Cut old ferns off late August (sub- tropical) then apply a few hand fulls of rooster booster from Bunnings per crown. It is only 4-3-3 organic fertiliser. I then put a 6
19 Nov 20, Kate (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi - I planted asparagus crowns in early September. I'm in mid Canterbury. Nothing has come up yet at all. Is it likely my crowns rotted or do I need to be more patient! Thanks
19 Nov 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Read up about how to plant the crowns. They would only need a light watering each second day. Dig around one to see what is happening. Put in good friable soil not clay soil.
29 Aug 20, Jenni Orr (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Want to order some crowns in Pukekohe. Where to order from?
01 Sep 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Google seed selling websites in NZ.
22 Aug 20, Chris McGeough (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Heads are just coming up but are being eaten by something very small that is killing each head off or leaving scars. Put some chook manure on a couple of months ago and wonder if its bugs in that? Any help would be great.
24 Aug 20, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
It might be slugs or snails, try using something to kill or deter them.
24 Aug 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Google it - bugs that eat asparagus. Probably have to go out at night to see them. Then look for a spray, organic or chemical. Maybe don't use chook manure, or compost it before putting it on. I don't put compost/manure on until mid-late August.
27 Jul 20, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
my asparagus plant is on its 3rd season since being transplanted...this winter the ferns appear to have died. there's 3ferns left and I've supported them. What I'm asking is it looks dead...any advice??
Showing 1 - 10 of 36 comments

Want to order some crowns in Pukekohe. Where to order from?

- Jenni Orr

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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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