Asparagus is rather expensive in the shops and it is quite a highly prised vegetable. You might be surprised to learn that it is actually fairly easy to grow at home and can give you affordable asparagus each year during its short season.

Growing asparagus:

Asparagus can be grown from seed but it is usually far easier, especially for less experienced gardeners, to begin with a crown which can be planted in the growing location in March. These are one year old plants that are in their dormant state at that time of year.

Asparagus will like a sunny position or in dappled shade on well-drained soil so if you have very heavy soil you may be better growing asparagus in a raised bed filled with a fertile and yet free-draining growing medium. It tends to be relatively trouble free as long as it is kept well fed with a general purpose plant feed and is free of competition from weeds. A mulch is the best way to keep down the weeds, as well as adding some fertility to the soil.

A good quality organic mulch will also help to protect the shallow and fragile root system. These shallow roots mean that it is also best to weed gently by hand rather than using a hoe. Mulching the bed in late autumn with a good weed-free compost is a good idea. Take care not to increase acidity of the soil too much by mulching. Asparagus likes a pH of around 6.5-7.5 so you may need to add lime to acid soils.

Once you have created your asparagus bed and placed the crowns, which should be buried with the bud tips just showing atop a fertile trench, at a spacing of around 45cm between each plant, you should support growth so it does not break in bad weather with a fence structure on either side.

When the foliage of the plant yellows in the autumn you should cut it down to the soil level for the winter. you should over over the crowns with soil to form a ridge. The asparagus may need to be protected with horticultural fleece if frost threatens.

Creating an asparagus bed is a long term project. You should not harvest asparagus until the third year. On that third year you can harvest spears for six weeks from mid-April. In subsequent years you can harvest for eight weeks. To harvest, you simply cut individual spears around 2.5cm below the surface with a sharp knife, when they are no more than 18cm tall.

Why grow asparagus in the garden?

Asparagus is one of those vegetables which will be a talking point with family and friends and can impress your guests. Save money and gain a gourmet ingredient by growing this in your garden. It may take time but many would say that it is worth it.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Asparagus officinalis