Growing asparagus

The ultimate perennial vegetable……plant it this year, weed it once a year, feed & mulch it once a year and watch it produce year after year! How easy is that!!

What vegetable is this?

The low maintenance, super easy to grow asparagus!

It is time to plant asparagus crowns – in all areas of Australia (except the far northern tropics). You can get 1 year old crowns via mail order from www.diggers.com.au or any good nursery.  You can grow asparagus from seed – but you will be harvesting asparagus spears FASTER if you plant the crowns.

For more details on how to plant the crowns check out Gardening Australia – and although you won’t be able to harvest any spears the first year. Come their second spring in the ground, the crowns will be producing spears so quickly that you need to check them daily!!

Asparagus LOVES:

  • organic matter – throw on lots of pelletised chook manure!
  • deep and friable soil, with good drainage – they grow well in raise beds
  • plant under or around a deciduous tree (I’ve got mine under a nectarine tree)

Asparagus HATES:

  • being walked on! Make sure the bed where you plant them is not a high traffic area that is going to be constantly walked over.
  • wet feet – make sure you’ve got good drainage

My asparagus bed is now about 4 years old and produces prolifically…..many spears don’t make it back to the kitchen!  YUMMO!

My rather messy asparagus bed!

If you have an established asparagus bed, now is the time to cut back the “ferns” that the crowns produce over summer/autumn. The very top photo shows these ferns in full growth and colour.

I’ve let the weeds get a bit out of hand this year – but that doesn’t matter too much over summer & autumn. But now is the time to pull out the weeds and cut the asparagus ferns off just above the soil surface.

Cutting back asparagus ferns

Lots of weeding was required…..but at least the soil is nice and soft!

After lots of weeding…..

Now….apply pelletised chicken manure (I’m using Rooster Booster here) – and then pea straw or lucerne mulch.

And after a bit of work (remember this is ALL the work I need to do until this time next year!) this asparagus bed is ready for the warmer weather of spring to arrive!

Asparagus bed ready for spring…..

If you are lucky you’ll get some spears appearing late winter. Protect them from snails and slugs with beer traps or pet friendly snail pellets (Multicrop brand is safe for pets).

My first asparagus spear of the season…..a bit early but I’m not complaining!

What about white asparagus? Did you know this is just GREEN asparagus grown in the dark?!! Commercial farmers use black tunnels or cloches to shield the spears from the light…….and they stay white!

 

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