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Growing Asparagus

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

(Best months for growing Asparagus in Australia - temperate regions)

P = Plant in the garden.

August: frost tender

  • 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

18 Jun 17, Laurie (Australia - temperate climate)
I have a question about asparagus. I am planning to plant some crowns soon. Can I plant other veg in this bed whilst the asparagus is dormant? If yes, presumably something not deep rooted like lettuce? if yes, any other suggestions?
19 Jun 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
The crowns will start shooting August -Sept. Very little time to grow something. Depending on where you live - you would plant crowns Aug -Sept and put a good cover of compost / manure on top. This supplies the crown with nutrients for growing - you wouldn't want other plants use the nutrients up.
17 Jun 17, Margaret (Australia - temperate climate)
I have just dug up old crowns to transplant, will these grow successfully in new fertilised beds or do I need to get new crowns? They are probably 30 yrs old but were still producing some shoots. Healthy long stems on the crowns.
19 Jun 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
They are probably past their use by date. Usually only have a good productive life of about 15 to 20 yrs. You may get more though. My suggestion cut one into a few pieces and plant them out. If you have the ground buy a few new crowns and plant them also. Next spring 2018 will tell, if the old one don't do well then you have new ones on the go.
29 Mar 17, Charlie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have 2 asparagus plants, both 2 1/2 yrs old. They look like they will be ready for harvesting this spring. My question is: they are not yellowing or dying back during winter. So do I trim, or leave them. Everything I have read states cutting back when yellowing but they just stay green and keep growing. We have had an extraordinary amount of rain so they are happy and health and a little too tall.
12 Jun 17, Wendy (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I used to live near Brisbane and grew asparagus for years - they never died back in winter. I would try to pick the coldest time (July) and would cut all the ferns (a couple of inches from the ground) and then mulch with the ferns and then mushroom compost and then sugar cane mulch. I would then clear away the mulch gradually in the spring - this seemed to stagger the harvest, so I could enjoy asparagus over a longer period of time.
03 Apr 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
It is March the first month of Autumn - not winter. In Aug 2015 I put 1 year old crowns (size of 50c piece) in.. They grew all the time until I cut them in Aug 2016. approx. 9" diameter. I watered them every couple of days. Spears came out a week later. I only picked for about 3-4 weeks. My plants are now 2 1/2 year old also. I gave my ferns a big trim a few days ago. They were 6' high with new growth about 2-3' longer. I even eat some last week. I will stop watering them from about end of June I think. Give them a chance to die off.
30 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
In cooler climates asparagus normally yellows and dies back in the winter as you say. in the spring if the spears are left they will grow on to form the big ferny tops that we are familiar with. The plant uses these tops along with manure or compost to regenerate the roots in readiness for next springs crop. You could try bending these over so they are bruised and nearly broken off to force the plant into dormancy. If you cut them off the plant may just send up some more spindly spears.
15 Mar 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Keep the seeds in a cool dry place. I kept watering my asparagus all the way into July last year - spears kept coming up. When I did cut them in August, new spears appeared in week or so. I gave my 3 plants a big hair cut a week ago. I have 4 x 6' posts at the corners of the garden bed and cord running around the post to support the ferns. The ferns grow to 6-8' high. I only cut spears for 1 month last year (2 yr old plant). In hindsight I could have cut them for another 4-6 weeks. The crowns are now about 15" in diameter (2.5 yrs old now). The little seedlings I planted out in Sept are still growing - the shade cloth cover did the trick. The last 2.5 mths have seen the temp in the 32-34 degree area (3 d above average). Have grown quite well in this rather hot weather. Looking forward to August - November to having a great feed off them.
15 May 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
All my asparagus grew really well in April especially the new little plants (6) from seed planted Sept last year. Although I keep trimming the older plants back they just keep growing - the warm weather - 26 C here today and nights 14-16 C. Looks like another warm winter coming.
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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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