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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

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
27 Aug 15 Claudette (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Asparagus can be harvested up to 8 weeks if its a mature plant (3-4 years+) and very healthy. In general though spears are harvested for 4-6 weeks in a year.
06 Sep 15 Roger Thompson (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
As a rule of thumb, I harvest my asparagus in all months which end in 'er'. :-)
18 Oct 15 Julie (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Does asparagus like an alkaline or acid soil? Making a new raised bed and will incorporate pea straw, chicken manure, rotted leaves, soil and seaweed. Can we use mushroom compost? All will be well mixed and "seasoned" before planting. Thanks
02 Dec 15 (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Can you dig up and divide plants? It is now December
05 Dec 15 Chris (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
You shouldn't divide plants in summer. It's best left until winter when they're dormant
20 Mar 16 Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Where can you buy crowns at in Wellington?

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

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