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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)

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

29 Nov 18, Ainsley Armishaw (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Our asparagus is in its third year, grown from crowns, how many stalks should I leave each year to flower and when can you cut off the stalks that have been left
29 Nov 18, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
In the spring you pick the spears after they come out of the ground - stop late Oct early Nov. To have a good crop next year you need to leave all spears/ferns to grow. These then provide food for the crown to grow for next year. Stop watering about early May and let the ferns die back. Cut the ferns off in August. As soon as I cut mine the spears start growing.
16 Nov 18, Henry (Australia - temperate climate)
How close is too close in companion planting ? Thanks
20 Nov 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Sorry I had that wrong. I was thinking non compatible plants. Companion planting would be fairly close taking into consideration what area both plant varieties need to produce a decent crop. Like if you were growing beans you would grow marigolds (I don't know if they are companion plants) about 500-600mm away. You don't want one crop over growing the other crop. Generally people plant things too close together - me included.
18 Nov 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
2-3 meters.
12 Nov 18, Vanessa (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
wherein south Africa can a person buy the crowns? I live in Cape Town, I have some growing from seed and they are doing really well but I don't feel like starting again and waiting for another 2-3 years. thanks
01 Nov 18, Harry (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Where can I buy Aspragus crownes or roots in Cape Town
30 Oct 18, Joe Legrand (USA - Zone 8a climate)
I have read that a new female asparagus plant is sterile & has not seed/berries. I however can not remember if it was on the net or in a magazine. So I have no proof, if I find it again I should post it.
11 Oct 18, Robert Koch (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
In north central Indiana, USA, I usually trim them back after the first frost, and add mulch through the winter. Is there anything else I can do to enhance my crop next year? Bob Koch
12 Oct 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have been growing for 3 years and done a bit of research. I don't have frosts. August is the end of winter here. Temps start rising from 6-10 to 12-15 by end Sept at night. Days go from 20-25 to 24-28. I cut mine 1st week of Aug and apply compost and horse manure. The manure is new but I'm going to try and decompose it before hand next year. I also apply some fertiliser once it starts to shoot spears. 3-4 teaspoons to 9l of water.
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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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