Growing Asparagus

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                P P P  

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

P = Plant crowns

  • Easy to grow. Plant as crowns. 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 beside): Parsley, Basil, Nasturtiums, Lettuce
  • Avoid growing close to: Garlic, Onions, and root vegetables
  • Asparagus growing
  • Baby Asparagus Seedlings (approx 6cm/3in) ((c) Liz Hutchinson)

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

24 Nov 21, pete Basabe (USA - Zone 12b climate)
Hi, Something is eating my asparagus below the soil line. The new shoots are being hallowed out like small caverns below the soil line. This quickly weakens the shoot and then it dries up and dies. The only insects I can find are small (1/4 in) round black beetle like insects that live in the dirt around the new stalks. The full grown stalks do not seem to be affected by these little guys. Any ideas? Thanks, Pete
10 Nov 21, Edward Phahamane (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I am a first time asparagus enthusiast... I would like your advise on planting asparagus on the rich loam soil on a plot on a river bank. What type of asparagus will be good to plant there? Do you make cross border sales because the plot is in Lesotho? Kind regards
17 Nov 21, (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Use the internet to see where to buy in S A.
07 Nov 21, Pam (USA - Zone 10a climate)
I have purple asparagus, about a 7 year old bed. I read to only harvest spears that are larger than a pencil, but if I do that the smaller ones turn into "bushes" and hide the larger spears. Is this the correct way to harvest and grow? Question 2: I read to only harvest them for a certain number of weeks and then when they start getting pencil thin, to stop harvesting. but this seems like such a short harvest season, and the plants still want to produce. It is as if my asparagus bed is bushy more than it is in the productive mode. Is this correct? Can I continue to harvest longer? Question 3: Can I plant the poisonous red balls and they will grow into new plants? I thought my old plants would reproduce, but my bed seems to be about the same annually. I just don't feel like a confident grower, and the sources I read don't seem to provide information specific enough for my needs. thank you
10 Nov 21, Anonymous (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Asparagus needs two things.1. It needs some ferns left at the end of growing season to feed and build the nutrient storage in the crown for the next season. 2. They also need fertiliser in the growing season. Here is what I do. I cut the ferns off end of winter, give a good watering, a good fertilising, then 6
19 Oct 21, Kimberley (Australia - temperate climate)
My first attempts at growing asparagus were from seedlings. Very slow growth and few spears. Then I put in Mary Washington crowns 2yrs old. The first year I harvested a handful of spears. This is the second year- I’ve had continuous harvest since a early spring. As suggested, I’ve let a few ferns grow so that the crowns can develop and will increase my feeding so I get more spears next year. I have boy and girl crowns. Do you recommend an all purpose fertiliser at this time ?
20 Oct 21, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Asparagus takes about 4 years to be in good production. I assume when buying crowns they are 12 mths old (probably less). This is what I do sub tropical - mid August I cut the old ferns off, give the patch a good watering, then apply a generous amount of NPK of about 12-4-14, give a watering and then put 6 (??)
04 Sep 21, bill (New Zealand - temperate climate)
we have a asparagus plant that appeared in a place in our garden where we had not grown any last year produced 1 or 2 very thin spears that went to fern this year there is one normal size spear just coming up should we class this as 1st or 2nd year
07 Sep 21, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
If it germinated approx 1 year ago it would be 1 year old. You need to really look after this plant with compost/manures/fertiliser and regular watering. You won't produce a decent crop until the 4th year. Also I suggest you have 3-6 plants if you want a decent amount of spears each couple of days.
03 Sep 21, Peter Wise (Australia - temperate climate)
Can you please tell me how to look after asparagus after growing it from seed since November 2020. How and when to fertilise. Live in melbourne thanks in advance
Showing 1 - 10 of 473 comments

Heads are just coming up but are being eaten by something very small that is killing each head off or leaving scars. Put some chook manure on a couple of months ago and wonder if its bugs in that? Any help would be great.

- Chris McGeough

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