How To Grow Asparagus

Get this superfood in the ground and enjoy homegrown crops for years to come

How To Grow Asparagus

Prized for the delicate flavour of its young shoots, asparagus heralds the arrival of spring

Easy to grow, asparagus is one of those crops that is worth cultivating at home for the difference in taste alone.  

This vegetable is a good source of energy-releasing B vitamins, including folate, which may lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Also containing magnesium and calcium, which helps maintain strong bones, it’s an all-round superfood. 

Delicious in soups, eat the spears steamed, grilled or roasted, or serve raw while still young and tender. 

Wash asparagus carefully and snap off the woody ends. The stems will break at their weakest point where they meet the tender spear. 

TIP Don’t discard the woody ends,as you can use them to flavour stock.  

The long crop

A perennial vegetable with succulent young shoots that grow from crowns, or roots, asparagus takes a few years to establish but is worth the wait. 

While they’re expensive to buy, they are hardy plants that can crop for as long as 20 years once established, so choose the spot for them carefully.

You can grow it from seed or buy young pot plants for transplanting in spring, but the easiest method is to sow crowns that are one or two years old.

It takes three years to produce a crown that’s ready to harvest.

Choosing a colour 

Green is considered the most common asparagus, and the most nutritious.

White asparagus is seen as a delicacy. Grown in the dark, the lack of sun is why the spears don’t turn green. 

Purple is a different variety and richer in flavour. The colour comes from antioxidants in the spears.

purple, white and green asparagus, handyman magazine,
Choose between purple, white and green asparagus 

How to grow

Plant asparagus in winter while the crowns are still dormant. 

They must be kept moist, so plant them as soon as possible.  

SOW the crowns in sandy soil that is well drained in a sunny position with shelter from wind. 

MULCH the bed with a layer of well-rotted compost or manure. 

HARVEST in the third year for up to eight weeks, taking only one or two ripe spears from each plant when their tips are about 150mm above the soil.

Cut the base up to 100mm below soil level, using a sharp serrated knife. If not using immediately, stand the spears in iced water for a few hours, then wrap and store in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.

FEED the plants after cropping when the inedible ferny foliage is growing strongly, applying a liquid fertiliser to the base of the stems twice a fortnight.

In autumn, cut back the top growth and topdress with manure.

harvest asparagus, handyman magazine,
Harvest asparagus spears from the base when they reach 150mm tall

ham and asparagus grill , handyman magazine,
Click here to get the recipe for this delicious Asparagus and Ham Grill 

How to plant the crowns 

To plant asparagus crowns, dig trenches spaced 450mm apart. In heavy soils, plant them more shallowly but earth up the stems as they grow.

DIG A TRENCH to 450mm deep using a spade and incorporate plenty of well-rotted organic matter. Make a low ridge down the centre.

PLANT THE CROWNS about 100 to 150mm deep, spreading out the roots on either side of the ridge. Space them 300mm apart. Earth over the trench.

Vote It Up: 

See also

How To Grow Kale
Known as a superfood and a nutritional powerhouse, kale is often referred to as the queen of greens. It deserves the...
How To Grow Organic Garlic
Garlic has a rich history of being used for its healing qualities. There is evidence to suggest it was given to the pyramid...
How To Grow An Avocado Tree From Seed
While avocados grow easily from seed, don’t expect any fruit for 7-15 years.  Even if you don’t get fruit, an avocado tree...
 Winter Crops To Plant In Autumn

It’s time to start growing delicious seasonal vegetables. Image: Alamy 

The cool autumn weather provides ideal working conditions for gardening.  The soil is still warm for planting and the time is...
6 Ways To Prepare Garden Beds For Winter Vegetables

Get the vegie patch ready for winter gardening 

Early autumn is the changeover time when it comes to growing vegetables, so it’s time to pick the last of the summer produce and...
How To Plant A Herb Pot
Strawberry planters are tall containers with holes around the sides that feature protruding cups to support the plants. They’...