Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

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

17 Feb 17, Dil (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Where can I purchase a Ming fern plant in Melbourne
18 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Ming Fern (asparagus) seed is listed on ebay. It is fairly easy to grow from seed. If you search for it on the internet you will find nurseries that have it in Melbourne. It is listed as an environmental weed in NSW and can't be purchased in that state. Trust this helps
11 Feb 17, Alex (Australia - temperate climate)
I have just bought a house in southeastern SA and it has a large raised asparagus bed. The ferns are over a metre tall and mostly still green, do I cut them back to ground level when they yellow or just leave them till they fall naturally, also, should I water them or not? I believe the asparagus is about 5 years old.
13 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Do not cut the ferns back until they start to turn yellow. They are building up the crowns for next seasons crop. Add compost or wel rotted manure in late autumn or winter will also boost your yield.
10 Feb 17, Lisa (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, This is my third asparagus year. My asparagus is growing in high raised garden beds. I have the most amazingly tall healthy ferns - they are so tall and prolific you can hardly get past them to the other raised beds. There aren't that many spears though. Will they come? Or am I destined to have a jungle of ferns? Does this happen? I did not pick many spears again this year, I left most to turn into my jungle.
10 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
The 'fern' begins as the edible spear as it emerges from the ground. It is too late to harvest spears this year. Cut the 'ferns' off when they begin to yellow. The spears will emerge in the spring. They sre like 'buds' for the ferns. Cut them off with a knife below ground level. Clear a bit of soil so you don't damage any new tips still under the ground. Enjoy! Trust this helps.
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
Showing 1 - 10 of 141 comments

Post a question, comment or tip about Asparagus

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.