Imagine crisp green asparagus spears poking up like gremlin fingers through the dewy soil, ready for you to snap off and crunch. Winter is the time to plant asparagus crowns, which are simply the roots of a dormant asparagus plant. At other times of the year you may plant asparagus seedlings, however, the advantage of crowns is that they are already two years old and will produce spears for harvest much earlier than a seedling. Purchase three or four crowns for a family. Crowns are normally male, as the female plants are less vigorous and produce a red berry.


Asparagus is quite easily grown and when established, will continue to produce for 15-20 years, so it is important to allocate it its own bed, where it will not be disturbed by the comings and goings of short lived annual crops. It must also be kept weed free and well mulched with pea straw or Lucerne mulch.

A sunny position, preferably free from strong winds and potential competition from trees should be chosen for the permanent placing of the plants.

Preparation and Planting

Asparagus does best in a rich friable soil that has lots of organic matter added to it. Ideally, the bed should be raised and of an area large enough to allow the asparagus crowns to be planted 40 cm apart. You need to work compost and manure into the soil so you are adding about one third compost and cow manure to two thirds soil.

Create a trench about 30 cm wide by 20cm deep, making a mounded ridge in the bottom of the trench. Place the asparagus crowns on the ridge and spread the roots out down either side. Cover roots with soil until under about 5cm of soil, leaving the crown at the soil surface.


To promote a vigorous, healthy and long-lasting root system it is important that you do not harvest any spears during the first year. Let the asparagus grow without harvest and it will produce a ‘fern’, which may be pruned back to the ground in winter after it has yellowed.

In the second year you may harvest no more than half of the spears, leaving any that are less than 1cm in diameter. As the plant matures you will be able to harvest about 80 per cent of spears over a 10 week period. Expect to harvest spears every 2-3 days during the peak growing season, beginning in early spring.

On-going Care

Once you have finished your harvest, allow the fern to mature until they turn quite yellow and remove them in winter.  Cut them back right to the ground.  Apply a generous cover of compost or well-rotted cow manure.

Keep asparagus well watered in summer, and weed free year round.