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Growing Asparagus

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S   T              

(Best months for growing Asparagus in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings

  • 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
  • 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

Be the first to post a question or tip from the USA

The transplanted ones will depend on how they were treated last year - whether they were left to build up energy reserves for this year. If you had plenty of spears grow into ferns then they should produce this year. Probably also depends how old the old crowns are. Last year while I was growing mine from 12 mth crowns to 24 mths I use to put about half a cup of fert in 9 L of water and feed them each month - only had 3 crowns. I also put manure/compost on in august. I have crowns that are coming up to 3 years old - that is from when seeds were planted - they have been shooting spears for a few weeks now - I have cut them back and manured and watered them. My seedlings which will be 12 mths old in Sept - I have not cut them back yet or put manure on them yet - will probably do that in about two weeks time. I have not watered them for the last month - they are not growing at the moment. As for manure - chicken is the richest in N followed by cow and then horse manure. I read the other day horse is about 1.75% N. Whatever manure you can get and add some fert if you like. We have had only one week of cool weather so far this winter - that is night temps down to 6-8 degrees.

- Anonymous

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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. Gardenate 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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