Growing Tips

Asparagus is a low-risk, permanent horticultural crop.

When To Plant

  • The best time to plant asparagus is when the soil temperatures rise in spring

  • North Island : mid September to mid October

  • South Island : from early October

  • Planting any earlier than recommended may result in death of plants due to diseases associated with wet cold soils or frost damage

  • Although these recommended planting times are specific to NZ, the same principles apply in other regions.

Soil Type

  • Asparagus likes deep, well drained soil, free from compaction layers.

  • Sandy loams, loamy sand or free drained volcanic soils.

Site Preparation


  • Make sure the site is free of perennial weeds before planting

  • Add plenty of organic matter (well rotted compost, mushroom compost, seaweed), into soil prior to planting.

  • Asparagus prefers high pH (6.0-6.5)

  • Lime (dolomite or hydrated lime) and superphosphate should be dug into the soil prior to planting

  • Spread fertiliser on the soil surface and dig deep to bury the fertiliser to the depth that most root growth will occur i.e. below 15 cm

How To Plant

  • Open a trench approximately 20 cm deep, with a flat bottom, approximately 20 cm across.

  • Lay the crowns down one side of the trench, 20 cm apart

  • Plant another row of crowns along the other side of the trench, but in the gaps of the first row

  • This gives a staggered double row with 10 plants per m length of row.

  • Cover the crowns with 5 cm of loose soil. DO NOT fill the trench with soil. This will ensure the crowns get away to a good start

  • Slowly fill the trench with soil during the following summer and autumn, as you hoe any weeds on the sides of the trench

  • By the following winter the trench should be filled with soil, and the soil surface flat

Fern Removal In Winter

  • Once the fern has completely died off and turned brown, cut the dead fern off at ground level

  • Compost or burn the dead fern

 Harvest Length

  • If crowns grow well in the first year, and the spears are 15mm or greater in diameter, these can be picked, but for only 10-14 days maximum. This is a "bonus harvest"

  • Normally leave plants for two years after planting before harvesting. The first season usually lasts for 3-5 weeks

  • Year 3 after planting, harvest for 6-8  weeks

  • Year 4 onwards, harvest for 8-10 weeks

  • Stop harvesting if the spears get thinner than 10 mm

What To Plant

  • Plant healthy one year crowns

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