Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

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 61°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 16 inches 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

03 Nov 17, (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I am new to planting Asparagus seeds harvested from my garden. I live in the USA in Northeast (Rhode Island) I had a bumper crop of Aspargus this year and have harvested all the red Seeds: When and how should I plant these seeds?
05 Aug 17, Bob reddin (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
When and how to transplant, is puttting down canning salt good idea
01 Jul 17, Michael (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Is asparagus perennial or annual
06 Jul 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Asparagus is perennial and will bear for around 20 years.
22 Apr 17, Joy (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Can you tell the difference between male and female asparagus, and what is the difference?
23 Apr 17, Jack (USA - Zone 6b climate)
When the tops are allowed to develop into the feathery stage the female plants will have the berries which turn red when ripe.
19 Apr 16, angela bradshaw (USA - Zone 10b climate)
is there any variety of asparagus that will grow in USA zone 10B?
23 Feb 16, dave gasche (USA - Zone 5b climate)
betty, I THINK THIS IS A COMMON VARIETY. IT IS COMMONLY SOLD IN WICHITA KS AT WAL-MART,K MART HOME DEPOT LOWES. THEY HAVE BOTH SEED AND CROWNS--I THINK THE CROWNS COST ABOUT $4 FOR A BAG OF 8. SEEDS ARE MUCH CHEAPER BUT WILL REQUIRE AN EXTRA YEAR.
01 Feb 16, Betty (Canada - Zone 2b Sub-Arctic climate)
Where can I purchase seeds or crowns for Martha Washington asparagus?
04 Jun 13, Ann Rein (USA - Zone 6a climate)
Have them come up yet? I remember mine were slow the second season. They're on year six or so now and I've been harvesting for a month now.
Showing 1 - 10 of 14 comments

Where can I purchase seeds or crowns for Martha Washington asparagus?

- Betty

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply


All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Buy the app for iPhone/iPod, iPad or Android and support Gardenate

Planting reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on Gardenate. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter


Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

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.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.