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Growing Asparagus

(Aspargus officianalis)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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(Best months for planting Asparagus in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • Easy to grow.
  • Harvest in 2-3 years
  • 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.
  • Space plants: 20-40cm

Seeds will take 2-3 years before maturing into crowns.Plant crowns (roots) 20-40cm apart and a few cm deep in well manured soil. Recommended soil pH 6.5 - 7.5 The asparagus shoots grow in spring. Harvest the shoots which are bigger than 1-2cm in diameter. Leave the rest to grow into the leafy ferns (1.5m 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.

NOTE: The asparagus berries are poisonous.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Asparagus

Steaming is traditional, then coating with melted butter or hollandaise sauce.
Alternatively break in short lengths,
cook quickly in hot oil a wok and sprinkle with soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.

Your comments and tips

09 Jun 14 Linda (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Here in Auckland where the temperatures have been very mild, my asparagus is still producing masses of green stems and foliage, though some are starting to brown off. These plants are from seed sown in spring 2013. At what point may I cut the stems and cover the bed with seaweed and compost?
15 Aug 14 Val (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Can we grow asparagus here in Ohai, Southland. I have bought crowns already.
04 Sep 14 Samantha (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I grew my asparagus from seed in winter 2012. I live near bethells Beach so have access to lots of seaweed I have used the unwashed seaweed mixed with lots of horse poo every winter since they were planted.I am confused about the harvest, they are producing Spears from September right through until July, is it OK to harvest the big ones right throughout the season and what do I do with the small ones? Do I let them go to fern and leave them until Autumn or do I cut them back once they have ferned, there are allot of ferns if I leave them all and I'm worried they will smother the other asparagus. Confused.
10 Oct 14 grace golding (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
crowns seemed to have dissappeard over the winter early spring period, any clues any one ,thank you
15 Apr 15 gina (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Do they like full sun or shade
26 Apr 15 Trudy franklin (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Full sun is better
30 May 15 Bruce Moody (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have read that asparagus like slightly saline soil and that having this also helps suppress weeds. If so, what rate of salt would be useful to apply?
10 Jul 15 Jill (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I have access to coffee grounds and wondered if asparagas would like a generous helping.....anyone know?
30 Jul 15 Noel Williams (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Where can I buy seeds or seedlings for planting. Hamilton.
13 Aug 15 fiona (New Zealand - temperate climate)
asparagus crowns can be purchased from Orderings garden centre in Hamilton. see their website

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See planting calendar for these climate zones

New Zealand - cool/mountain,   New Zealand - sub-tropical,   New Zealand - temperate  

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