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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 in same bed): Parsley, Basil, Nasturtiums, Lettuce
  • Avoid growing in same bed: 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

19 Jan 17, Karleena (Australia - temperate climate)
I am new to gardening - I got a small patch with asparagus growing - no asparagus but only ferns - can I cut it down or should I let it grow?
23 Jan 17, Tom (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Asparagus needs time, lots of time. You will not get much for the first few years. Just let it die down in winter and cover with lots of compost.
25 Nov 16, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Has anybody tried to grow asparagus from seed. I have tried this year. Live around Bundaberg Qld. In total I have planted out approx. 30 little seedlings. Very delicate little things. A bit of heavy rain and they snap off. A little hit up with fertilizer killed a couple. Even over watering has killed a few I feel. I have 8 plants left. Any tips on whether to grow them out of the direct sunlight and rain. Some plants have grown to 10-12" high, some are struggling at 2-3", although sprouted a couple of weeks later than the bigger one. Last year my 1 yr old crowns up grew and grew. Finding it hard to get these seedlings powering along.
25 Nov 16, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Years ago I worked at a wholesale nursey where we propagated asparagus crowns for sale. The soil was sandy and we did not have any irrigation, only the rain. Our germination rate was very high. Maybe the seedlings are rotting if the soil is too wet. We sowed the seed in the Spring and sold the crowns the following winter. We did not thin or transplant the seedlings. Retry sowing with slightly raised soil to ensure good drainage. Trust this helps. John
23 Dec 16, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Thanks John - Better to explain my position. I had planted out crowns last year (in a raised boxed garden bed) and had some berries fall on the crown and on the soil next to the crown. Also on the soil outside the box. This year in Sept the berries germinated. I transplanted the very small seedlings to the garden bed next to the boxed bed. This a red soil - can become very wet when we receive 2-3-6 inches of rain in a day. Also it is exposed to the sun, rain and wind. From the experience this year I know now I should have put them in pots and protected them a lot more. A few weeks ago I transplanted the smaller ones into pots and placed near a tree for some shade and protection. Today I transplanted them back to the garden and constructed a shade cloth cover for them to protect them from the sun. I have done this as we are going away for 7 days and my daughter will forget to water them and they will probably all die.
20 Nov 16, Susan britton (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, My friend planted old corms in my patch 3 years ago. The asparagus grows up very thick in the stem. She wants me to get a corm out when they all die back so she can grow this old variety. Can you advise me if that's ok and how to do it if it is. Thanks Sue
21 Nov 16, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Apsparagus roots are called 'crowns'. Wait until the Winter and carefully separate a crown with a garden fork. if the crown is large you could cut a piece off or split it in half with a knife or spade. you must ensure that the separated piece has a few buds and roots attached as well. Don't try and harvest any spears on your 'new' crown until the second year.
17 Nov 16, lynne (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, I live east of Melbourne. I've grown asparagus for the past 4 or 5 years and now its mid November I have stopped harvesting but wonder if I could continue to harvest a little longer now its well established. Please advise
18 Nov 16, Chris (Australia - temperate climate)
Keep going Lynne but make sure you have some spears going to seed for next year, let 6 or so go and then take any that come up after that.
18 Nov 16, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Normally you stop harvesting asparagus spears to allow tops to grow to regenerate the crowns for next season. if your soil is well built up with manure you could probably sneak a few more but don't jeopardise next seaasons crop.
Showing 1 - 10 of 135 comments

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