Home Vegetable Gardening Learn how to develop asparagus: a easy information to planting and harvesting

Learn how to develop asparagus: a easy information to planting and harvesting

Learn how to develop asparagus: a easy information to planting and harvesting


A well-managed asparagus mattress ought to stay productive for 20 years or longer, and subsequently it pays to decide on your spot fastidiously and put together the bottom effectively earlier than planting. We requested skilled allotment grower, Lee Senior, for his high tips about rising this scrumptious vegetable. Right here’s his tried and examined recommendation. 

Browse our full vary of asparagus crowns for inspiration.

This text was reviewed by the Suttons horticultural group and up to date on 26 March 2024.

Selecting one of the best asparagus selection to develop

Most of us will solely have area in our gardens or allotments for one or two sorts of asparagus on the most. It’s subsequently smart to decide on one of the best selection for our wants, particularly on condition that asparagus crops can last as long as 20 years! If you wish to unfold the cropping interval, maybe mix an earlier and a later selection to increase the season. Early varieties begin cropping in April whereas late varieties are at their greatest in June. 

I at all times selected male sorts of asparagus as, curiously, they have an inclination to supply larger yields. Male varieties don’t produce berries and subsequently the crops’ power is channelled into spear manufacturing. Feminine varieties are inclined to have barely thinner spears as a few of their power is used to supply seeds.

Asparagus might be grown from dormant one yr previous crowns (bought naked rooted) or from seed. I’ve had success with each, however I have to admit I discover rising them from seed just a little extra enjoyable! 

The advantages of asparagus crowns

If rising from crowns is your most popular methodology, you’ll discover that you’ve a far larger selection. The all-male selection ‘Gijnlim’ produces early crops of excessive yielding, deliciously-flavoured spears. In the meantime, one other male selection ‘Backlim’ produces thick inexperienced and white colored spears. This RHS Award of Backyard Advantage winner is common with business growers. The foliage is compact and dies again naturally in early autumn.

For a barely later season harvest, the male selection, ‘Guelph Millennium’ is right. It was bred in Canada and thus tolerates colder situations than different varieties, making it appropriate for the north of England. Lastly, for one thing just a little completely different, I notably like the variability ‘Pacific Purple’ with its sweeter tasting purple spears that are white if the crops are earthed up. The spears are stringless in comparison with different varieties. If you wish to retain the purple color, it’s higher to steam or eat the spears uncooked.

For a great vary of various varieties the Suttons Continuity Assortment affords crowns of three completely different all-male varieties that can crop from April by to mid-June. 

Your resolution on whether or not to purchase crowns or develop from seed will largely be primarily based on how a lot you wish to pay and likewise how a lot time and greenhouse area you’ve gotten obtainable. Why not attempt each and examine?

Rising asparagus from seeds

A dependable asparagus selection to start out from seed is ‘F1 Ariane’. The seeds germinate pretty simply, if just a little slowly. A really gentle crop is feasible within the second yr however the spears might be thicker from yr 3 onwards. Right here’s how you can sow asparagus seeds:

  • Sow asparagus seed in a tray of multi-purpose or seed compost at temperatures of 18-20C.
  • Sow in late winter in a propagator or use a heat windowsill for an early begin. 
  • A chilly greenhouse is right for an April or Could sowing.
  • Though hardy, it’s a good suggestion to guard the seeds from extreme frosts, utilizing fleece for the primary weeks.
  • Skinny out when massive sufficient to deal with and transplant into larger pots when the seedlings turn into pot certain.
  • The primary factor to pay attention to is the flimsiness of the younger seedlings. They will also be gradual to develop within the early phases, but when given warmth from the warming solar, they are going to steadily begin to develop. 
  • Develop on in pots and plant out in spring of yr 2.

The place to develop asparagus

Select an open, sunny spot through which to develop asparagus, however keep away from very uncovered positions and frost pockets. It is going to develop in most deep, well-drained and fairly fertile soils, however a barely alkaline soil is preferable (with a pH worth of 6.5 to 7.5.) This may be simply checked utilizing a soil check equipment or pH meter. Don’t plant a brand new asparagus mattress the place a crop has been grown beforehand.

As soon as established, your asparagus mattress ought to stay productive for a number of a long time. Due to this, it actually pays to consider the place you need to develop your spears. I at all times give the placement loads of thought as established asparagus crops don’t transplant very effectively.

Learn how to put together an asparagus mattress

Person creating asparagus mound in garden
Plant your asparagus crowns on a slight mound 
Picture: Shutterstock

When you’ve chosen the placement to your new asparagus mattress, put together the soil upfront in order to permit the bottom to settle. Dig in loads of well-rotted natural matter and be sure that the soil is well-draining.

  • Dig the soil to a spade’s depth, forking the soil layer under.
  • Take away all traces of perennial weeds. 
  • Incorporate a great dressing of well-rotted manure or backyard compost into the highest 25-30cm (10-12”).

When to plant asparagus

The most effective time to plant out new crowns is in April or early Could. This may give the crops the best likelihood of creating because the soil warms up. Seed grown crops also needs to be planted out in April or early Could of their second yr (12-15 months from sowing). 

Keep away from planting out any new crowns or crops throughout the summer time months as the danger of the crops drying out is simply too nice.

In my expertise, it’s additionally higher to keep away from planting out in Autumn as there isn’t sufficient time for a powerful root system to get established earlier than the onset of winter. The younger crops are subsequently prone to rot. 

Learn how to plant asparagus

Plant your asparagus crowns as quickly as doable after receipt however not if the soil could be very moist or frosted. Deal with the crowns fastidiously to keep away from harm and don’t allow them to dry out. Should you can’t plant them right away, place the crowns in a field or seed tray, encompass the roots with moist peat and maintain them someplace cool and light-weight. Right here’s how you can plant them out:

  • Place the crowns 40-45cm (15-18”) aside with 1.2m (4ft) between rows.
  • Lay the crowns on a mound or curved ridge roughly 10-15cm (4-6”) excessive.
  • Unfold the roots over the ridge and flippantly cowl with positive soil or well-rotted backyard compost. Additional skinny layers of soil might be added because the crops develop, to forestall the roots drying out. 
  • If the crowns are positioned too shut collectively the spears are prone to be thinner on account of further
  • competitors for vitamins and moisture.
  • After planting, apply a long-lasting top-dressing of blood, fish and bone, hoeing it in gently. 
  • Don’t harvest any asparagus within the first yr of planting. Throughout this era the crowns are increase in measurement to be able to produce heavy crops thereafter.
  • A most of 1 or two spears might be harvested from every plant within the second yr in the event that they’re rising strongly. Nonetheless, it’s important that the remainder needs to be left on the plant to develop and mature into ferns. This may strengthen and construct up the crown for future years.
  • The primary significant crop needs to be taken within the third yr (that’s, two years after planting). 

Learn how to take care of asparagus

Asparagus ferns in garden
Asparagus crops throw up tall ferns that may snap in sturdy wind
Picture: Shutterstock

Asparagus is comparatively straightforward to take care of, and this perennial vegetable returns yr after yr with just a bit TLC. Right here’s how you can take care of it: 

  • As soon as your asparagus is planted, maintain the beds free from weeds by hand weeding or shallow hoeing – however keep away from disturbing the roots which might be simply broken. 
  • Pay explicit consideration to watering in dry spells throughout the crops’ first season. It’s important that the younger crops don’t dry out or they are going to wither and die. Even as soon as your crowns get effectively established you need to keep away from letting them dry out for any size of time, as cropping might be impaired. 
  • As younger spears start to push up by the soil, they are going to be weak to slugs. You probably have heavy soil, or the land is moist when the spears begin to emerge, some slug safety is crucial to keep away from the crop being decimated. 
  • As soon as the spears have peaked, the crops ship up lengthy ‘ferns’. These are liable to be blown over within the wind in uncovered areas. The way in which to fight that is to supply help with canes and cord, both individually per plant, or across the perimeter of the asparagus mattress.
  • In autumn, when the ferns flip yellow, minimize them right down to inside 3 cm (1”) of the bottom for the winter. 
  • Should you’re rising an all male mattress like me, search for any rogue feminine crops earlier than you narrow the foliage again. You’ll be capable of spot them as they produce small spherical berries on the ferns. Take away these crops, because the yield might be lower than with the male varieties. 
  • Shield your crowns with a skinny layer of effectively rotted leaf mould or backyard compost both in late autumn or early spring. 

How and when to reap asparagus

Relying on the season, you may normally begin to minimize spears from round mid April and proceed till round Father’s Day in mid-June. At all times cease harvesting in mid-June, and depart the crowns to develop and construct up reserves for the subsequent season. Overcropping can result in abnormally skinny spears.

Harvest the spears when they’re 12-18cm (5-7”) above the bottom, chopping them 3cm (1”) or so under the soil floor with a pointy knife. A particular Asparagus knife can be utilized although I’ve been recognized to make use of scissors or secateurs efficiently at occasions in desperation!

Take care to keep away from damaging different creating shoots. That is simply executed, and on numerous events I’ve inadvertently destroyed an adjoining spear to the one I’m chopping, an actual bittersweet second.

We hope we’ve impressed you to start out your individual asparagus mattress. Costly to purchase within the grocery store, this luxurious perennial vegetable tastes infinitely higher when picked and eaten on the identical day from your individual backyard! Discover extra of Lee’s sensible, hands-on, vegetable rising recommendation over at his month-to-month allotment pages.

Lead picture: Asparagus officinalis ‘Mondeo’ from Suttons



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