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Growing Asparagus

(Aspargus officianalis)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
                P P P  

(Best months for planting Asparagus in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Plant direct in garden where they are to grow.


  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden, or plant as crowns. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. 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
  • Seedlings (approx 6cm/3in)

Seeds will take 2-3 years before maturing into crowns. 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 second or 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

27 Dec 11, Mary (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I am a first time grower and am preparing the ground with compost only in a mound.what else should I add? SHEEP MANURE OR CHOOK.DO THEY LIKE LIME?
15 Apr 12, Trudy Franklin (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Asparagus prefers a high ph of 7.0, so my gardening books state, so yes liming likely will be needed. Can you test the ph of your soil? I give mine horse manure and sheep pellets - I have no source for hen poo, but I cannot see any reason why that would not be good for them.
28 Jul 09, Valerie (New Zealand - temperate climate)
It's only the end of July and my asparagus is already sprouting. Should I pick it or leave it alone? It's in it's third year and I haven't picked any for the last two spring/summers
13 Aug 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Andrew, you could try Kings Seeds www.kingsseeds.co.nz/ (for seeds) or any good garden shop for asparagus crowns.
10 Aug 08, Andrew (New Zealand - temperate climate)
how and where do i get a packets of asparagus seed or seedlings

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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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