If you enjoy asparagus at mealtimes, you can learn how to grow asparagus at home. These delicious stalks are one of the first green vegetables to come into season at the end of winter, and spring is the perfect time to plant them.
Unlike learning how to grow tomatoes from seed , knowing how to grow asparagus is not as simple. What’s more, they can take a few years to fully mature until they’re ready to harvest. But there is a way to learn how to grow asparagus the easy way, and harvest crowns within a year. In fact, asparagus plants produce spears every spring for 12 to 25 years, so you’ll have an endless supply of organic produce for the family. With the rising cost of grocery bills, this could save you money in the long-term.
Essentially, there are two ways you can grow asparagus. You can plant from seeds, but this usually takes three years to grow before they are ready to harvest. For faster results, most people plant asparagus from one-year crowns, which gives you a head-start to the rooting stage. In addition, this method allows you to harvest your plants within a year. So if you want to harvest asparagus for delicious meals, here’s how to grow asparagus the easy way.
If you prefer homegrown veggies, check out the 9 easiest vegetables to grow for beginners or how to plant potatoes to add tasty meals. If you're looking for an indoor project, check out how to grow an avocado tree from a seed.
How to grow asparagus from crowns
1. Prepare the soil bed — First, get your soil bed ready by removing weeds, grass or any roots underneath. Ideally, the bed should be around 4 feet wide to allow enough space for your rows. With a rake, till the soil and rake in manure, compost, blood or bone meal at a depth of 10 to 15 inches.
2. Dig trenches — Next, dig trenches around 6 to 12 inches deep and around 12 inches wide for planting. If you’re planting multiple rows at a time, space the trenches 2 to 3 feet apart.
3. Fill trenches and create a ridge — Fill the trenches with about three inches of garden compost to help feed future plants. Form a ridge in the center with the excavated soil you had dug up earlier. This ridge of soil will support the fragile roots and ensure good drainage.
4. Lay your asparagus crown — Lay out your asparagus along the ridge at about 18 inches apart. Place each crown at the top of the ridge with their roots draped over the edges. Once all in position, gently cover the crowns with three inches of soil before patting them in place.
5. Water well — Make sure you water the crowns well to settle the soil. In addition, asparagus needs at least 8 hours of sun daily, so ensure the soil is kept moist at all times.
6. Apply fertilizer — If you sow in early spring, apply fertilizer in March or just before they begin to produce shoots. Asparagus crowns fully mature when they reach up to 6 inches tall. Typically, asparagus are ready to harvest after two full growing seasons.
TOP TIP: Avoid harvesting the spears too early in its first season. Allow the foliage to develop as this will help to feed the plant and encourage growth.
How to grow asparagus from seeds
1. Sow seeds indoors — Start by sowing single seeds in small pots or seed trays. Then, place the pots in full sunlight, keeping them at a temperature of 77 °F. Moisten the soil daily with a water spray bottle or small watering can. This process should be done at the start of spring.
2. Keep spouts at low temperatures — When you start seeing sprouts growing through, they no longer need a warm temperature. Ideally, maintain a low temperature of about 70 °F to encourage growth.
3. Plant seedlings outside — When the seedlings are about a foot tall, they are ready to plant in a nursery bed of soil. Dig a hole about 3-4 inches deep for the seedling to continue growing. Cover with a layer of soil and water well.
4. Weed out the female plants — Once the plants start to produce flowers, you'll need to separate the male and the female plants. Male plants have large, long flowers, and the females have smaller flowers. Remove all the female plants.
5. Transplant male flowers after one year — Allow the male plants to complete their growing cycle and overwinter in the nursery bed. Once they have fully-matured as one-year crowns, they are ready to be transplanted to the permanent bed.
How many asparagus do you get from one plant?
Once the asparagus fully mature, you should be able to cut between 8-10 spears from each crown. It's always best to plant as many crowns at one time to get a decent picking.
For more planting tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our guides on how to plant sunflower seeds and when to do it, how to prune hydrangeas, how to care for an orchid, how to plant grass seed and get a greener yard, and 5 things to get your garden ready for spring.