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Growing Asparagus

(Aspargus officianalis)

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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

26 Jan 14 Barbara Hay (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Is it possible to grow asparagus in central otago - hot in summer and periods with snow on the ground in winter?
10 Feb 14 Steven Longden (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I live in Taupo and would like to grow asparagus, - What depth do you dig the trench to plant the asparagus in? -What is the best time of the year to plant one year old asparagus in Taupo? - How much soil do you cover the one year old asparagus with when first planting in the trench? - plants
15 Feb 14 Siran and Carlos (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I have had crowns in since July last year and now have not got anything coming up. Do they die off for a bit before they start growing again before June/July? Thanks
23 Feb 14 (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi can you please advise me how much depth do the roots of asparagus need ? Can I plant into shallow troughs? Thanks Vivienne
28 Mar 14 Muzza (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi there, we live in Waiuku akld, and just wondering when do we cut the ferns down/ off and what we feed them over the winter months
30 Mar 14 Jo (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi Muzza, leave the fronds on your asparagus until they dry out, just before winter usually, then cut them back just above the soil, cover the plants with a good layer of seaweed if you can get it, the seaweed needs to be washed in ordinary water to rid it of too much salt. Asparagus is related to samphire in some weird way, which is a plant that grows next to the sea in Europe and Britain and likes the iodine content of seaweed. Put an extra layer of compost on top of the seaweed to help keep weeds away. The seaweed with compost down over winter and help feed the asparagus so you should get a good crop next year.
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

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