Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Asparagus



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Asparagus is a perennial bulb and stem vegetable that greets us every spring. Here’s how to grow asparagus in your garden.

Asparagus plants may take 2 to 3 years to truly get started and produce, so patience is needed! But then again, the plant can be productive up to 20 years, so we think it’s worth the wait.

Asparagus has male and female plants, with the female plants producing berries. Regions with cool winters are best for this cool-season crop.


  • Asparagus is planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. The plant is grown from “crowns” (1-year-old plants).
  • Eliminate all weeds from the bed, digging it over and working in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost, manure or soil mix. (Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.)
  • Dig trenches of about 6 inches wide and 6 to 12 inches deep. Some experts believe shallow trenches of 6 inches are best. 
  • Asparagus does not like to have its feet “wet,” so be sure your bed has good drainage. For that reason, raised beds can be a good place to plant asparagus. Learn how to make a raised garden bed.
  • Create a mound in the trench and plant the crowns 15 to 18 inches apart, spreading the roots over the ridge.
  • Cover the roots and crowns with soil 2 inches deep and water thoroughly.
  • As the stems grow, fill in the rest of the trench with soil, leaving 3 to 4 inches of the stem exposed.
  • For more planting tips, see our page on growing asparagus from seed.


  • When the trench is filled, add a 4 to 8 inch layer of mulch and water regularly.
  • Do not harvest the spears in the first year, but cut down dead foliage in late fall and side-dress with compost.
  • During the second year, keep the bed thickly mulched, side-dress in spring and early fall, and cut down dead foliage in late fall.



  • Asparagus can take three growing seasons to harvest, though you may be able to lightly harvest during the second year.
  • In the first year, just let the asparagus go vegetative to give the crown a chance to get well established. Next spring, remove the old fern growth from the previous year, and keep an eye open for the new spears to begin emerging.
  • For the following years, maintain the bed and harvest only the spears thicker than a pencil.
  • The asparagus can be harvested for a period of about two to three weeks once the spears start to show. Keep a close eye on your asparagus so that you don’t miss the harvest—they grow fast!
  • After harvest, allow the ferns to grow; this replenishes the nutrients for next year’s spear production.
  • Cut spears that are about 6 inches in length at an angle.
  • Asparagus freezes well.

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • A pinch of baking soda in the cooking water keeps beans, spinach, and asparagus greener.
  • At only 40 calories per cup, asparagus is amazingly good for you! See our list of awesome asparagus health benefits.


Cooking Notes

A simple and easy favorite when it comes to asparagus is fresh roasted asparagus.

Reader Comments

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We have very old asparagus. We were told to add salt after season was over. Didn't know if this was a benifit or not.??
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

salt on asparagus bed


We have heard of using salt after the season is over to keep down weeds, but not to improve the health of the asparagus.

asparagus planting

I live in New England. I planted crowns about a month ago (early June) following directions as best I could. It is now early July and the crowns are not showing any bit of green growth. I don't know what I did wrong. Was I too late? Is it too late now to get new root crowns and plant again or should I just wait until next spring? Should I try seeds instead?

best time to plant asparagus

Hi, Janet. Yes, it sounds as though you planted your asparagus too late. It should go in the ground in early spring. We suggest you start fresh next year. 

Asparagus Planting Late

Hi Janet,
I got my asparagus planted in early June too because of numerous delays. I actually stored the crowns in my refrigerator for 5 weeks before planting. Figuring I had nothing to lose anyway, I planted the crowns at the first opportunity I had. A couple of weeks ago I was ready to yank them all out and wait until next year to try again, but lo and behold, tiny shoots had finally appeared! I was utterly amazed. Of 10 crowns I only lost one. So, if you don't want to use those beds for other plants, just be patient. I hope your plants surprise you. Best of luck! (PS: I'm in Washington, zone 8b)

Topic Information

Thank you for the specific planting guide about asparagus. It is one of the most delicious vegetable in the world.

old asparagus crowns

I have a patch of asparagus that has been left wild for likely about 20 years. I would like to dig up the crowns and move them to my garden. Any advice on which ones to dig up and how would be appreciated. I live in north central British Columbia so we have a short (100 day) growing season and cold winters.

Old Asparagus Crowns

Hi Pam,

That’s certainly an old patch of asparagus, how do the plants look? Healthy? It’s not recommended to transplant old crowns, especially as old as 20 years. They have extremely developed root systems, and the plants would most likely be shocked by the transplant and die. However, gardening is an experiment and who knows for sure what may happen! Try transplanting the smaller crowns into a well-draining, sandy soil. Usually the crowns should be planted at a depth of 6 to 8 inches, but these may like to be deeper. Try planting a few depths between 8 to 12 inches. Water them well and see what happens. Good luck!

Asparagus ferns 4'+ tall

My asparagus plants are on their third year. We had a great crop this year. I have left them to go to fern, but they are now well over 4' tall and the wind and rain have knocked most of them over. Will this damage the crowns? You can see a deep hole at the base of the fern. What should I do if anything?

asparagus ferns blown over

Your ferns will be OK even if they are laying on the ground. We have heard that some people prefer to steady them with a stake, but it isn’t necessary. 

Cutting back the ferns

Our asparagus is now into its third year. Can we cut back the ferns now so the other plants in the garden can get more sun or will it damage the roots for next years production? We are in Alberta Canada so we can have extreme cold during the winter months. Thanks for any advice you can provide.

asparagus ferns

 The fern stage is when the plant gathers energy for the next year. Once it dies in the fall, cut back the growth.


I'm growing asparagus in a raised bed . How do I control the berries from dropping everywhere outside the bed. I have little asparagus ferns sprouting everywhere.


Hi Matt,

You can transplant the sprouting asparagus into the bed if you want to save them. Try laying tarps out around the raised beds late in the season. Pick up the tarps after the seeds have dropped and either save them or dispose of them.

After summer

I live in Washington and I have fern growth right now. I was wondering how far down do you do the cutting after summer/fall. And here in WA with our 8 months of rain after I put fertilizer in should I cover my garden box so the asparagus don't drown in the rain?


After the ferns turn yellow, cut them back to 2 inches above the soil line. As to the cover–asparagus does not like to be soggy, so protection from consistently heavy rains might be good. Raised beds help with drainage, but make sure yours is draining properly. Adding compost is one way to help to improve drainage if needed. A removable hoop house cover, or similar, can be handy during especially heavy rains (at least in earlier stages of spear/fern growth–the ferns can get several feet tall). Remove the cover on sunny or especially hot days (if covered in clear plastic not row cover), or during light showers. For other ideas, you might contact your county’s Cooperative Extension. Contact information can be found here:



3 yr old plants

We are in our third season of plants (planted crowns 3 years ago.) When they started growing this year, they went to ferns, but are now producing some spears. Do I let the ferns grow while harvesting the spears large enough? Also, I have many small ferns coming up around the plants. Should I leave these and will they develop into another producting plant eventually? Or should I pull up any shoots that come up?

Seed stalks

I only get a few spears. All I get is seed stalks. When are you supposed to cut them off?

asparagus harvest

Are your crowns relatively young? They will take 2 to 3 years to become established, and will not be as productive those first few years. Avoid harvesting during that time. When they become established, harvest some spears thicker than a pencil and about 6 inches high, for 2 to 3 weeks in spring. Then after that, allow all spears to grow into the ferns over the summer. Cut those down when they have died back in fall. The ferns help the plant to make food for itself, allowing it to overwinter and produce healthy new spears the following year. If your asparagus is several years old, and you are getting a spindly harvest, that can be due to several factors, such as over-harvesting (which weakens the plant), cutting down the ferns before fall, allowing weeds to take over the bed, or lack of fertilizer. Another factor is age; asparagus over 15 years old tends to become less productive; if that is the case, you might consider planting new crowns. Hope this helps!

Harvest period

We have been picking all asparagus bigger than a pencil through the end of June for years. it keeps coming as long as its picked. By fall its like orange brush when we mow it down. Why the 2 - 3 week advise. Also, I've herd the berries don't grow unless passed by a bird. is that true? that would explain wild plants under power lines, fence rows, etc

Asparagus, high altitude

I live at 8000 ft in sunny Southern Colorado, and have planted asparagus in a raised bed. Anything special I need to do?

high altitude gardening

Asparagus can be grown at high altitudes (there are varieties that are more cold hardy, such as ‘Martha Washington’ or ‘Jersey Supreme’)–just be sure it is protected from frost and over winter (crowns buried at a proper depth), and mulch to help to keep soil moist. Because yours are in a raised bed, I’m guessing the soil is new and has the proper nutrients and soil pH? Otherwise, test the soil for pH balance and nutrients and amend as necessary (but choose amendments that will not burn the planted crowns). Do not harvest the first year, and only very lightly if at all during the second. For other tips, you might ask your county’s Cooperative Extension. Contact information can be found starting here
Hope this helps!


Neglected asparagus :(


We are in Putnam County, NY. Just discovered that we have an asparagus plant randomly growing in some weeds by our house. (We moved in last year, very old property, very overgrown.) It has already gotten very tall with delicate sprigs coming out (fern stage?). TThe spears appeared around 4/27 but we did not cut.

What, if anything should we do to make sure our pal sticks around in the best shape? Do we trim it back? Can we still get edible spears?

Neglected Asparagus

Hi Jen,

It sounds like the asparagus has already gone into the fern stage and is past harvesting. The fern stage is when the plant gathers energy for the next year. Once it dies in the fall, cut back the growth. Next year when it comes up, harvest the spears when they are about 6 inches tall and then let the asparagus grow to the fern stage. 


Hi, We are in Sullivan County, NY. Our second year asparagus was growing like crazy and then we had a night below freezing and the large stalks froze and toppled over. We were waiting until the third year, next year to start to harvest it. What should we do? I suspect they wind produce the fern fronds? Will it come back next year? Thank you!

frost damage

How frustrating! This unfortunately does happen sometimes. When it does, remove the damaged spears as soon as possible. New spears should start growing in a few weeks. Do not harvest this year; let the ferns grow and then fade through the season. As long as the crowns were not damaged from the frost, the plant should recover. You can see how it responds this year–if the new growth looks healthy and vigorous, you should be fine for starting harvest next year. A thick layer of mulch can help protect asparagus if frosts are predicted.

Growing Asparagus in VT

Hi, I have an asparagus bed that I started at least 8 years ago and the amount of spears that it produces is disappointing. I have heard from others in my area that they are harvesting many in early May when I see only a few. I have followed all the rules and treat it well, using an organic high nitrogen fertilizer as well as a healthy dose of compost, manure and mulch in the fall. I think the site wasn't getting enough sunlight but we have recently cut back some brambles and tree branches away to help improve sunlight. Also, sometimes when I am tending the bed weeding and press down on the soil the ground seems hollow underneath indicating that there are tunnels possibly from moles or some other rodent Has anyone else had a problem with critters and can this be contributing to the low production? Many thanks for any advice you can provide.

the 1st year growth and the 2nd year growth are about the same.

should I move them to a deeper bed?

Planting asparagus in tropical climate

Can asparagus be planted in tropical climate? If so, I would like to know how to go about it?

asparagus in the tropics

Asparagus does best with a chilling period, but there are cases where it can be grown in a tropical environment. One source says it can be done as long as there is a long enough dry season to induce dormancy. Here is an article about growing it in Hawaii, which says that it does not undergo winter dormancy, so it can be harvested several times a year. There are instructions about how to induce dormancy during the drier summer months.

Hope this helps!

growing from seeds

I just planted seeds and I now have little ferns in containers. What's next and when do I plant them in their permanent home? Do I plant them in one spot and then move them again or is that only when using crowns?

growing asparagus by seed

When asparagus transplants are about 1 foot tall, they need to be set out in a nursery bed after the last expected spring frost date, and when the soil is warm. (To find your frost date, see: Before you transplant, harden them off for a week in a protected area or cold frame. (You can also direct seed in the garden in early spring.) When the plants flower in their nursery bed, weed out the female plants. The following year, transplant the male plants to their permanent home. If grown from seed rather than crowns, add another year before you should harvest fully (3 years).
For more information, you might like this blog about planting asparagus from seed:
Happy gardening!


Is it too late to plant crowns in upstate NY (Finger Lakes region)? Have had a bed producing for 20+ years and all of a sudden it seems it about done.

asparagus planting date

Cornell University suggests planting crowns 4 to 6 weeks before average last frost. To find your frost date, you can go to the following page and put in your zip code.
If you have further questions, you might contact a local nursery or your county’s Cooperative Extension. Extension contact information can be found here:
Hope this helps!

Leafy Asparagus

My seven year old asparagus bed seems to be getting broad leaves instead of spears when they are about 4 inches tall ? Has anyone heard of this or know of a potential cure ?

High Elevation

I love Asparagus and I am going to plant this spring. I'm concerned about our elevation in Cheyenne Wyoming and how it will effect the Asparagus......any other concerns come to mind?

hardy asparagus varieties

You should choose a hardy variety of asparagus. Two hardy varieties we would recommend are ‘Jersey Giant’ or ‘Mary Washington.’ Good luck!

Asparagus in Durham

Hello Meghan,
I work at a local garden ctr. and asparagus is now just becoming available to us from the growers & I've spoke with local gardeners and their asparagus is just starting to peek thru :)

Hi there,

Hi there,

I recently moved into a house in the Durham Region area of Ontario. I knew the previous owners and they informed me of a thriving asparagus bed in the back garden. I'm totally new to gardening, so I'm not really sure when to expect the crowns to start coming up in my area. I thought I would have had some action by now, but nada. Any idea when I might expect to start harvesting? Thanks!!

asparagus harvest

You might ask a local nursery or gardener for best advice for your area, but I’m thinking that you might see some spears pop up in about a week or two. Sometimes emergence can be delayed due to cool weather. In Ontario in general, it looks like asparagus is available from May into June.

Husband refusing to harvest!

Hiya. My husband takes the "let the ferns grow" advice to the extreme and hardly harvests ANY of our four year old asparagus bed each year! We live on the coast, north of Ventura county, and he just lets they keep going to fern every year. At this point (mid-April), there are a few spears, but most of the bed is already tall and fern-ish. What is this refusal to harvest doing to the plants, and can I cut back the ferns now for a harvest or no? Help!


Hi, Meg: WHAT are we going to do with that hubby of yours?!! We’re just guessing now, but perhaps it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or Old Farmer to figure out that maybe he just doesn’t LIKE asparagus? Your plants aren’t really getting harmed by not being harvested … think of them as just wild and free, like the Woodstock Generation of asparagus. Once they start to fern-ize, they get harder and harder, but you can go ahead and cut them back without harming anything. Then you can harvest them again as they come up, continuing to to do so until the stalks are about the diameter of a pencil. Then leave them alone so that they can build up energy for next year. It would seem that your biggest challenge will be not in dealing with your hubsparagus, but in finding a way to divert your husband’s attention. Feel free to find the best days to harvest aboveground crops here: Oh, and if it turns out you need to sneak out there under the cover of darkness in the middle of the night, you might want to check out when the next New Moon is going to be at: Thanks for asking, and good luck!

question about soaking crowns before planting

We read that it's good to soak crowns right before planting for 24 hours or less. We put them in water last night because we planned to plant them this morning. However, we had a heavy rain last night. Can't plant in bed when it's so wet. It will make the soil clump because we have a clay type soil-- even though we have added mulched leaves. Afraid it will be hard lumps if try to dig it wet. What do we do with crowns? Let them dry out? Continue soaking them? Plant them in wet bed (raised bed)?

storing asparagus crowns

If you think you can plant within 2 or 3 days or so, then it probably would be OK to wrap the crowns in a moist (but not soggy) newspaper or paper towel and place in a cool, dark place; check every so often to keep things slightly moist. It might be best not to use a plastic bag, so that air can circulate. Alternatively, some gardeners place crowns in a bucket of moist sand in a cool, dark area, such as a basement. You don’t want to keep the crowns soaking in water too long, or it may invite disease. They like to be slightly moist, but not waterlogged, and not totally dry either. Hope this helps!

asparagus coming up early

My asparagus is in 16" high raised beds, full sun. Planted last year from one year old plants. Had lots of ferns, no picking. In south central Georgia. Shoots are coming up in late January. Covered beds with 2" of compost manure in late fall. Will still have some below freezing and frosts. What should I do? Can they stand the cold and frost? The shoots are already over an inch high and over a quarter of an inch around.

early emergence

Asparagus is sensitive to frost, which can ruin the quality/taste of the spears. If your spears are emerging too early, you might try covering them with 8 to 12 inches of straw (not hay) or similar cold protection to insulate the spears and crown until threat of frost has passed. Good luck!

How long do asparagus corms

How long do asparagus corms produce?

With good care and

With good care and environmental conditions, asparagus crowns may remain productive for 15 to 20 years, sometimes even more.

First year asparagus

Hi! I have about 35 plants or so I grew from seed this year, all in individual pots (one gallon and smaller). Should I plant them before the winter or can I leave them in the pots and transplant in the spring? I live on Vancouver Island and we typically have very mild and short winters.

asparagus from seed

It should be OK to wait to plant them in spring. Make sure that the pots are protected from freezing (such as surrounding them with a thick layer of straw mulch). Asparagus should go through a period of dormancy over winter for best spear growth. Keep them in a cool area (preferable outdoors). In late fall, after the foliage has died or has yellowed, cut them back to about an inch from the ground. Do not water or fertilize the plants over winter. In spring, begin watering again just before spears appear, and remove mulch when they do appear.

Spears in August?

I had a wonderful harvest this last spring and allowed the fronds to grow. However, I looked at the edge of the garden the other day and, low and behold, I saw healthy asparagus spears about 8 inches tall! Am I just blessed or should I let them grow?

asparagus in August

Hi, Marilyn, Apparently this is a very rare event! Folks we contacted had little to no experience with it, so there was no consensus, just opinions. These incluude

• to leave the spears, as you would first and second year growth.

• to pick the spears and enjoy them—they’re a gift!

• to pick a few and leave a few, so you have the best of both worlds: a harvest and a plant allowed to mature…in which case (it occurs to us) you’re blessed twice.

Hope this helps!


I planted 2 pkg of asparagus seeds in an 8" pot in June. They have been in the house in a south facing window until now. (August 30) They are all growing and thick fern like stems.
How do I winter them? Should I plant them outside in the fall or keep them in a planter in a cooler temp over the winter?


Can you harvest asparagus in the fall?

harvesting asparagus

Normally no. Usually one lets the spears grow in spring, harvesting some of them, then letting the rest grow into ferns to make food for the plant during the season so they can survive over winter and grow again next spring. However, there is a method mentioned by the Arizona Cooperative Extension where, if you have a lot of space, for a spring/fall harvest you can grow half of your bed the above way, and half the following way: when the spears appear in spring, do not harvest them–let them grow into ferns. Then in late July, cut the ferns down. This prompts the plant to grow new spears, which you can harvest a certain percentage (just like the spring-harvested method) for a few weeks before the end of the growing season. These fall-harvested crops will always need to be only harvested in fall – you can’t also harvest from them in spring, or you will severely weaken the plants. Hope this helps!

After the 2yr asparagus die

After the 2yr asparagus die back, how do I care for the plants? I did not harvest any asparagus this year as suggested. They are 2 yr old crowns purchased this last spring. I have each of my 40 plants in 4 gallon pots. O dont want to kill them!

asparagus in containers

Asparagus growing in containers will not yield as much, and will not live nearly as long as those grown in the ground, but the method does offer access to these wonderful plants to those who do not have the yard space. These plants do need lots of space, however, and will quickly outgrow a 4-gallon pot – ideally something like 15 gallons or more is preferable - about 18 to 20 inches deep and about the same as wide. They do not like transplanting, though, so if you decide to transfer them to a larger pot, wait until they are dormant in fall or winter.

For general care, wait for the ferns to die back in the fall, then cut them down to about 3 inches. Provide mulch over the crowns (some use the cut down ferns) and protect them appropriately from winter’s cold, depending on your climate (they do require some period of cold temperatures). In spring, side-dress with organic fertilizer, scratching it into the surface, and then add some compost. Be sure your pot has good drainage, and that it is set in an area where the plant can get about 6 to 8 hours full sun. Water consistently (when dry about 2 inches into soil – do not overwater).

Do not harvest from the plants until the second year after they were planted in the container (so yours would then be 4 years old if you planted 2-yr crowns in spring 2016–if you transplant them again into another pot, you ideally should wait another year again – you can play it by ear, and monitor the vigor of the plants as they come up that second year).

For more advice for growing asparagus in your area, you might try contacting your county’s Cooperative Extension. For contact information, see:


Sun or part shade?

You should add whether it needs full sun.

Full Sun for Asparagus

Hi Mike, asparagus does need full sun! We have updated our page to reflect that. Thank you!


Do you continue to water asparagus through the summer after you have let the fronds grow or is it better to let them dry up?

Watering asparagus

After you harvest the asparagus, you should keep watering the plants for good fern growth until they die down.  Once they die in the fall, then you mow and mulch them on the beds.


Please describe the what the female & male parts of a asparagus look like. Do you cut down the asparagus ferns in the summer so more asparagus can grow from the roots?

Asparagus Anatomy

Male flowers have 6 stamens with orange anthers and white non-protruding filaments, that tend to be more bell shaped. The female’s ovary is green and in three sections, and its flowers have pistils with a 3-stigma style–they are more tubular. It is best to leave the fern-like growth intact until it turns brown in the fall, as the foliage is photosynthesizing and helps generate energy for the following year.

early cutting of fronds

My husband has just cut all the fronds down on a 4 year old asparagus bed. It is mid-July. Is there any way of rescuing my asparagus bed. I had allowed the fronds to grow to about 1.5m after harvesting in May but he decided they were in the way and cut off every leaf, leaving sticks about 40cm. Has any one been able to salvage plants after this treatment?

asparagus fronds cut back early

The asparagus fronds provide and store energy for the roots that provide the spears in the next season. The effect of this early shearing is likely to be a poor spear harvest next year. With such well-established plants, we think—we hope—that you might only have to sacrifice one year.

For now, leave the plants alone. Do nothing. In autumn, weed the bed then lay on a few inches of organic matter (composted manure, leaf mold, the like) and work it into the soil. Check the pH and amend if necessary. Asparagus are pretty hardy once established and four years is a pretty well-established bed.

Next year, leave the fronds in place, letting them turn brown in the autumn. Then, tell your husband he can cut them down.

All the best!

Transplanting asparagus grown from seed

i planted asparagus from seed 2 years ago. Last year they grew about 12" high. I did not harvest his year, the plants are healthy and the ferns about about 3' high. The problem that i have now however, is that they are being crowded out by some sage that i also planted form seed nearby. The sage has unexpectedly turned into 2' x 2' bushes and the asparagus is growing " through" them in some cases. Should i transplant them now (July) - into an uncrowded location with better soil or wait until Spring/fall? I am in gardening zone 6A

New occupant, old bed

We've just bought a home that has a nice asparagus bed out back, used to be raised but has settled some...looks healthy, but I'm not sure how old it is, or how to care for it now.
My plan is to put some compost and mulch in the bed this fall, while cutting the old canes. There appear to be a lot of females in here, as there's a whole lot of fruiting going on. Do I need to save those little "berries?" And is a preponderance of females a problem?
Also, do you think I need to add phosphorus for the roots? It looks like the bed is well established, as there are a bunch of plants, but it's obvious that the people who lived here the last 2 years were not gardeners.
Also, in the article it says "side dress" with mulch. What is that?

Summer planting of asparagus

Hello! I was wondering if I can plant my one-year-old asparagus crowns now. My husband and I recently moved to a small hobby farm in southeast Minnesota. This spring I started on a new vegetable garden and dug two 20' x 5' garden beds for tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers, etc. Sadly, I wasn't able to dig the asparagus bed until this month and today just finished with the amendments. The bed is 12' x 4', double-dug, raised with a 6" high wooden frame, and edged on the inside with aluminum flashing going down about 8" to keep out the surrounding turf and weeds. So with all of that, I'm hoping that I can plant my asparagus crowns now--possibly with shade protection if needed--or if I should wait until the fall. Our area has had some hot (80s) days, a couple of near-90 days, and this week should be cooler in the mid-70s. Thank you for any help on this question! Diana

planting asparagus

By “now” you mean in June, right? Sure. Better to get them started. Keep them watered—but not wet (sopping) and allow them to dry between watering.


Summer planting of asparagu

Thank you so much for replying! :) Yes, I was referring to June and you've confirmed just what I was thinking to get them in and get the fronds growing so that the plants can store enough energy for next year. My main concern was summer heat and its effect on the health and future productivity of the plants, but it doesn't seem to be an issure. Again, thank you for answering and for this site. There's a ton of great information here.


have had asparagus for about 10 years, has not produced much, failure on my part, have had small shoots, I have noticed some with little white flowers, I was told I needed to cut them out and then told not to. what should I do beside fertilize


Which end is up?


Which end is up? We’re not clear what you mean. You typically plant asparagus from crowns in the home garden. Do you mean for cooking? You snap off the woody root ends of asparagus before cooking. Hope this helps!

Asparagus and roses

I have planted my asparagus crowns near to some rose bushes, will the coexist happily in the same garden bed? I could not find any information on companion planting for asparagus. Also, how tall can I expect the ferns to grow. They have grown 10" this week alone and we are just a few days into June. I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Thank you for your timely response to this matter.

asparagus ferns

Both plants like about the same soil pH, and fertile soil with good drainage in a sunny spot. A concern, however is the height of the asparagus ferns, which can grow between 3 and 8 feet tall, depending on the age of the plant and the variety. It is possible that, depending on where they are placed by the roses relative to the Sun’s path, they might shade them out, as well as block air circulation (little or no air circulation increases the likelihood of disease for roses). It is important, though, to keep the asparagus ferns intact (and not prune them), as they provide the food that the plant needs to survive the winter and maintain health. You’ll want access to the asparagus to harvest the spears early on, and allow them light. Having the two together might be OK, if the two plant groups are positioned so that both get enough light (and air circulation) at all times, in all stages of growth.

Asparagus Trenches

I have a problem. I have followed all directions about preparing soil, digging trenches, planting the crowns etc. Now I am to the point where it say begin filling in trench. Some of the crowns have stalks 6" high, some are a quarter inch high and some have not sprouted yet. How/when should I partially fill in the trench? Would it hurt to fill in the trench completely now? I am afraid if we get a bad rainstorm the dirt that beside the trenches will wash away.

filling in trench

You might want to fill in on a case-by-case basis. If some crowns have growth 5 inches or more, add about 2 or so inches more soil over the base. For those that are under that amount, you might wait until the spears appear and reach a larger size – also, you don’t want to cover any foliage that develops. Once growth reaches the minimum size, you can start filling in about 2 inches every two weeks until trench is filled. To keep soil outside the trenches from washing away, you might try placing a tarp over it and around the edges. Hope this helps!

We just purchased a home that

We just purchased a home that has a raised asparagus bed. It has not been maintained and is very overgrown with weeds, grass ect. It has some young and also ready to harvest asparagus. Do i need to pull the weeds by hand or can I till it up? Mulch after? Just need some general guidance for a newbie.Thanks

weeding asparagus

It’s best not to till an asparagus bed, as you might damage the crowns. Early in the season, before growth emerges, it is possible to use a hoe to remove weeds shallowly, but at the current stage, where you have young and ready-to-harvest spears, hand pulling is best to avoid damage. After you remove the weeds, a 3- or 4-inch layer of organic mulch, such as straw (not hay, which may have seedheads), can help prevent further weed emergence.

salt on aspargus patch

is it ok to put salt around the asparagus patch to keep down the weeds

Small asparagus

Our asparagus patch is about 5 years old. This year we are getting so many really small spears - like only the circumference of a nail - and some as getting the fern top when they are only a few inches tall. Have you heard about this and what can we do? Thanks for any help you can give us. Susan

early ferns

Asparagus may fern early in hot temperatures or drought. Make sure that your plants are getting enough water. Also, that they are receiving a topdressing of fertilizer each year. If they run out of nutrients, the spears may be small. Thin spears may also be a sign of age (which would not be the case in a 5-year-old bed) or harvesting too many spears, which can stress the plant. Also, be sure to only remove the ferns after they have completely browned. If removed too early, the plant can’t make enough food for it to survive well, causing weak growth next year.

what to do with "dead" stems

I planted my asparagus 3 years ago. We had some very heavy snow that basically froze wilted my asparagus that I did not even notice was growing. There are many "dead" stems. Should I pull the out? or cut them?

Hi Valerie,

Hi Valerie,

Do not cut or pull the stems. You may disturb roots that are still growing. Add some compost to the soil and in the fall cover your beds with mulch to protect the roots from freezing temperatures.

Weeds in asparagus

How do I control weeds in my asparagus bed alongside my garden? I've heard sawdust is good to mulch with, is that recommended?


If you have a small bed, you can handpick weeds as they emerge, being careful of the asparagus crowns. Mulch also will help to supress them, and some gardeners find that a 3- to 4-inch layer of sawdust does the trick. Avoid placing the sawdust right near the crowns, as it can form a crust–this crust helps to keep weeds down, but can also inhibit the asparagus from getting water. Another concern is that the microbes that break down sawdust may use up nitrogen; keep an eye out to see if your plants might need a little nitrogen boost during the growing season (turning yellowish or pale green). An alternative mulch would be to use about 4 to 6 inches of straw (not hay).

Separating my babies

I planted many seeds last year, they came up last year and again this year. I noticed on some there are 5-6 little babies coming out. I dug them out and separated the crowns. Did I do this right or should I have left all those babies stuck together. I didn't plant them very deep this year either, thought next year when the crowns get bigger I can plant them deeper. I want to plant more seeds, so instead of putting 5 seeds in a hole, should I do one. I understand one crown can give you 5 or more spears, so they should be separated right. Thank u, wonderful information.

Asparagus bending over

I posted this question below-Haven't seen an answer as of yet. I did see another answer that said to let the plants fall?

Submitted by Rhonda on April 19, 2016 - 3:21pm

Both thick and thin are bending over. I've done soil tests in the past but, last year put in raised beds with fertilized soil and Black cow. I mulched with red mulch. can or, should I stake them or, (sadly) start over?


I have just completed reading this site, including all the questions and answers. I commend the Almanac Staff on their patience in answering all these questions. I think every possible question and answer has been submitted. I thankfully don't have any questions now because this is such a wonderful and informative site. Now I can go forth confidently to plant my perfect crowns, in the perfect bed, in the perfect spot at the perfect time so I can harvest and eat my perfect asparagus! Thank you.

Thank you

Sophia, We thank YOU for reading the questions and answers first!!  You have brought a big smile to our day, and we’re glad you found this page useful. Sincerely, your OFA editors

Thick stems

My asparagus bed is approximately 4 years old. Many, but not all, of the stems are very thick. Some are about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. What causes this and can it be fixed?

thick spears

Opinions on this seem to vary. But one thing is clear: A lot of people would love to have thick asparagus spears.

Here’s what we know: According to one source, all-male varieties such as ‘Jersey’ produce thicker spears; male plant do not get involved in fruit formation. Another source says ‘Jersey’ is recommended for home growers.

Another says it’s due to “vigor”: plant health; and goes to suggest that newer-producing plants make fatter spears.

But a range of spear sizes from one plant is also common. Spears that sprout from the center of the plant come up fatter because they are closer to the (center) nutrient source. Thin spears come from the “edges” of a plant crown.

So what can you do?

Grin and bear it, or give them away.

Harvestig crowns?

We have a bed that has a number of well-producing asparagus plants, but there are empty spots where there used to be plants, or only very spindly spears are coming up. Does anyone know how to harvest crowns from existing plants? I was thinking of sacrificing one of my healthy plants, filling in the spots and not harvesting those, then, for the two years. Is there any way to tell if the crowns would be male or female plants?

Inherited asparagus

We purchased a home in the fall and have inherited as asparagus bed. They are now coming up and I was wondering if it is okay to cut them all or is there some I should not take out as I don't know the age of them. I know the bed has been there for a a few years, but didn't know if I should look for a sign it is a newer shoot or if it is alright to cut everything right now. I am in Ohio.

asparagus harvest

Because the bed is likely older than 2 years, it would probably be OK to harvest the spears this year, providing the plants look healthy. Only harvest spears that are thicker than a pencil and ideally are between 6 and 8 inches tall, with buds that have not opened yet. Harvest only for 2 to 3 weeks, ideally, although for established beds more than 5 years of age, some gardeners harvest up to 8 weeks, before summer. After that, let all spears grow into ferns, so that the plant can make food for itself for over winter. Note: If you find that the spears coming up are predominantly thinner than a pencil, then stop the harvest, even if it is sooner than the normal amount of weeks for harvest, or else the plants will weaken and your harvest next year will suffer. Hope this helps!


Thanks!! I never thought that plants could have a gender. I thought that only people and animals had genders.
Did you know that dragon Flies can change between genders!!!


so is Caitlyn a dragon fly?

That is hilarious. I guess I

That is hilarious. I guess I'm not the only one...


I have shoots (fern-like) coming up all over my garden. Will they ever produce or should I just pull them all up.

fern-like shoots

So, we’re thinking that you didn’t plant asparagus, so you don’t know if this is asparagus.
Do you have any spears? Spears would be making an appearance, too.

One way to see what this is, because it may not be asparagus (we have no way of knowing for certain) is to dig up an area. If there is a “crown” from which the ferns come, with long roots going deep into the ground beneath it, this may be asparagus. The crown is a fairly substantial centerpiece; the roots are numerous and deep. (You do not need to unearth all of the roots.)

If it is not asparagus, take the unearthed plant, with the fern-like top, to a local nursery. They may be able to identify it for you.


I'm in S.C., planted asparagus last spring it grew about 3-4 ft tall. I cut it back for fall and we covered it for winter. Upon uncovering recently, the stalks are several feet long and bending over. We added fertilized soil, manure, and mulch My questions is, what do I do now with it bending over? Appreciate any further info you can give me.

asparagus bending over

We are thinking that by “bending over” you mean that the spears are spindly—thin, weak. This is usualy a sign that the crowns were not planted deep enough; that they are shallow. Depth should be 6 to 8 inches (we say 6 above; close enough). It also strikes us that you might have soil imbalance (did you check pH? do a soil test?); asparagus loves rich organic matter but too much of any/some nutrients—fertilizer and manure, for example—could contribute to the spindliness by “getting them going,” so to speak, faster than nature would have it happen.

Bending Asparagus.

Both thick and thin are bending over. I've done soil tests in the past but, last year put in raised beds with fertilized soil and Black cow. I mulched with red mulch. can or, should I stake them or, (sadly) start over?

bought Fall asparagus roots - still good to plant in Spring?

I bought asparagus roots last Fall and was unable to get them in the ground on time. I am wondering if it is too late to plant them this Spring? The roots look dried out... should I soak them in water and "SUPERthrive" to revive them? Will that work? I really do not want to throw them away... can they be salvaged? I live in Zone 8, and I am waiting until April 15 to plant any thing. We keep getting cold spells and they burned some Asiatic Lilies that started coming up, so I think that it may have killed them. So I don't want to plant my veggies or Asparagus until then. Anyway. Please let me know ASAP, because it is now April 8, so it is getting close to that time. Can I make these roots grow? Thanks.

Well... I have exactly the

Well... I have exactly the same issue. I wish someone would have answered this question, cause it would have been extremely helpful. I guess I'll just throw them in the ground, so to speak, and see what happens... :|

Dried crowns

I was new to asparagus and knew nothing about ideal planting times. In fact I don't even like asparagus but wanted to try the purple. So, brought home some one year dried crowns from the store but didn't bother getting them in the ground immediately. Finally got around to digging the trenches and stuck a few in the ground. One or two took immediately and others didn't, so I pulled them, soaked them in water with a little rooting powder and stuck them back in the ground. BAM! I planted end of June, it's now October and I have some super fluffy 3-4' healthy ferns (even a few spears I am letting grow) - still have new ferns emerging. I'm placing all my pulled tomato and bean plants around roots now to over winter and I'm pretty sure I'll have a small harvest next year. Don't give up- two of the crowns took about 6 weeks to sprout.

Established Bed

I would like to improve the bed for my well established asparagus by framing the bed and building it up with soil, to enrich what is there. Will this work? Is there a danger to the plants and how they grow through the surface soil?

asparagus raised beds

I think it would be OK to frame the existing bed, as long as the digging did not extend into the area around the crowns. However, it might not be good to bury the crowns further with soil, depending on how deeply they are planted now and how much soil you intend to add. The more soil the spears need to grow up through, the more resources the plant uses, and possibly the weaker the plant and the less yield you will get at harvest time. You can, however, add fertilizer (in early spring before spears emerge, using 10-10-10 or similar; then a nitrogen fertilizer just after harvest, around June), compost, and mulch each year, to keep plants happy.

How close can I run my tiller

How close can I run my tiller to my aspargus plants ? They are two yrs old.


I'm in OK. My asparagus is volunteer. It is up almost 3 feet. Should I cut it back and harvest the small shoots when they grow back out or leave it alone?

Volunteer asparagus should be

Volunteer asparagus should be pulled out of the beds because they will become crowded and production will suffer.


I planted asparagus crowns last year in a raised bed. They came up fine, I did not pick any. It's late March now the next year and I see nothing poking up? worried

asparagus not coming up

Depending on your climate and local weather, it may still be OK not to see the little spears poking up just yet. Give it a few more weeks; warm soil will wake them. Cool, wet weather can slow things down. Otherwise, it may possibly be that the crowns have rotted over winter, or succumbed to disease. Make sure your site has good drainage, sun, and air circulation.


Question, I planted 2 year old roots last spring in 2015 today I noticed that it is starting to pop up out of the ground. The weather has been very nice, but this weekend we are expecting lows in the 30's and about 1-2 inches of snow. What should I do to protect my crop? Or will it be fine.

snow on asparagus

Apologies, Chad. By now the snow must have come and gone, and we’ve been busy here. We expect your asparagus came out of it fine. We would have suggested a light layer of mulch, if snow and extended cold was imminent. But asparagus is tough. It’s probably fine and you can look forward to decades of harvests.


Chad, did your asparagus survive the cold snap?


I bought 2 yr old asparagus crowns and planted them in southern California in a raised bed. They have come up (all but one) but I only have one spear up from each crown planted. Is this normal? And do I just let them grow until the ferns turn yellow/brown then cut and wait til next season? I thought maybe I should be seeing more than one spear per plant?
Any information is appreciated.


Yes, 1 or 2 spears per crown is normal the first year after planting; a few more might pop up a little later. Just let them grow, as you suggested, and wait for the ferns to brown, then cut them back. Harvest very lightly the next year, then the third year, the plants should be established for normal harvesting.

I planted as an experiment

I planted as an experiment two asparagus crowns in a large concrete tub in the spring of this year. I let the spears grow to large ferns then cut them back when they changed colour. Now in late December I am getting more spears appearing( it has been very mild this winter)! What do I do, cut the spears and enjoy a very late crop, or let them grow to full sized ferns and cut them back in the spring. By the way I live in the U.K. so our weather is rather less harsh than in some parts of the U.S.

early asparagus

We are all for harvesting the spears (when they are at least 4 inches tall or more). Nearly all commerical asparagus grown in the US is harvested from January to June, so you may be right on schedule. Enjoy it!



Ive planted my asparagus from seeds and I've planted it over into the garden bed and what i have notice is that I've get red flowers on them which looks a lot different from the pictures that is online. Its not sprouting upwards its sort-off along the ground.

asparagus cultivation

Thank you very much to your reply. We are ever grateful to you. I'm Bangladeshi (Asia) asparagus cultivator. Now we are starting asparagus planting in our country. Please what about you to our environment condition. And, now we are in winter season, is it possible to start now? Again thanks to your replay.

Propagation of asparagrass

If your plan is to grow asparagrass from seed and you are growing a small planting, now is a good time to plant the seed inside. The seed are quite slow to germinate. Soak them in water with a little bit of detergent mixed in so as to break down the coating on the seed. After soaking for a couple of days plant them in a flat container with drainage. Use a potting mix or peat or mulching medium that has been soaked with water. Plant the seed about a half inch deep. Don't allow the medium to dry out. It will take weeks for the little plants to emerge. After they are a couple inches tall they can be transplanted into larger containers. Later when there is no frost danger transplant the larger containers into your garden area. For a more detailed guide pull up asparagrass propagation on the Internet.

asparagus cultivator

I want to cultivate asparagus. Which is the best season for asparagus cultivation? What about you winter season for asparagus cultivation, please.

When to Plant Asparagus

Tareq, I am not sure of your location, but we provide planting dates for the U.S. and Canada as we are a North American publication. You can find planting dates here:

Greenhous bed?

I have an asparagus bed in my greenhouse in Oregon. I have a drip water system. Do I run it all winter or do I shut it off and let it dry out? Is it better to just transplant it into a raised bed outdoors? It is 3 years old and I had 3 foot thick fern this fall and lots of small spears. I cut down the fern when it fell over and was turning color. Did I kill it? It is November and the bed has brown stubble all over. Move it outside to a raised bed and cover with mulch for winter now or keep fighting it in the greenhouse?

You can overwinter your

You can overwinter your asparagus indoors; put them in a garage or cooler (but not freezing) section of the home, as the crowns need to go dormant. Once the ferns die, you can cut them off and place mulch over the soil surface to protect them from cooler temperatures. In early spring, consider planting them in their permanent home outdoors, before growth starts. Do not harvest in the coming year–allow at least one more year for the plant to establish.

I was wondering if you can

I was wondering if you can elaborate on how one would overwinter asparagus plants indoors. I have a project happening in the garden space where I work and the asparagus will either die or needs to be moved for the winter and replanted in the spring. Is it similar to dahlia bulbs, for example? How likely is it they will survive? The plants are about 7 years old. Thanks!

You can move the asparagus to

You can move the asparagus to a cool location indoors (basement or a unheated garage will work). Cut the tops off the plants and add some mulch if temps. get below freezing. The asparagus will go dormant. Water a few times during the winter. In the early spring plant them outdoors.

Seedlings yellowing

Hi i live in New Zealand in the southern hemisphere. I planted asparagus from seeds about 6 months ago inside and only recently just planted them out (it is spring here). Since planting out they have just gone yellow and look as though they are dying. Is this likely to be because it is s bit cold and they are likely to regrow when it warns up or are they likely to die completely?

They were hit by a freak frost a couple of days ago but were already yellowing before that.

Thanks in advance!

If you planted your asparagus

If you planted your asparagus from seed, we recommend that you start harvesting after this third year. It’s good to let the spears grow into ferns for good production next year. Optionally: lightly fertilize for good top growth. Keep moist. Then, after frost, cut the spears down to 2-inch stubs to force dormancy. In the fall, add 4 to 6 inches of mulch and some organic matter and nutrients. In warm areas, withhold water in October and November to make ferns go dormant (turn yellow). Remove dried tops in early winter before new sprouts appear.

grown from seed but kept in pots too long

I sowed asparagus seed a year ago last February. I planted the seedlings out in raised beds too soon and lost a lot of the plants, but about 30 plants survived. I dug them up and put them in plastic pots early this year thinking I'd plant them out at the farm we are building and will eventually be moving to. Well, due to unforeseen circumstances, it's October and they are still sitting in the pots and are pretty root-bound. Do I leave them in the pots which I would cover with mulch over the winter, and plant them out early spring while still dormant OR should I try to get them in the ground now (they are still pretty green)?

Transplanting asparagus

It might be best to wait until spring, and plant them then while they are still dormant. Protect them over winter, as you have suggested, with a thick layer of mulch.

Asparagus ferns


I started asparagus indoor from seed in April. We are now in cold october and my poor asparagus ferns are now 12-18 " and thin...but still in pot indoor. Should I keep them indoor for the winter ( zone 4 B) ( my guess is I should transplant them in bigger pot at least 12" deep... But i have 20 of them ). Or... Could I dig a trench outside, plant them and then cut the fern when turn yellow ???... Or since i did everything wrong...just start over next spring ? Thanks

You might try overwintering

You might try overwintering indoors, but put them in a garage or cooler (but not freezing) section of the home, as the crowns need to go dormant. Once the ferns die, you can cut them off and place mulch over the soil surface to protect them from cooler temperatures. In early spring, consider planting them in their permanent home outdoors, before growth starts. Do not harvest in the coming year–allow at least one more year for the plant to establish.

Hi there. I live in New

Hi there. I live in New Hampshire. I planted asparagus crowns in raised beds this summer and they have grown beautifully! Is there anything I should do to prep for our long/cold/snowy winter?!?!? Such as cover them with a tarp, mulch, straw? Thank you!

Once the tops have died back,

Once the tops have died back, spread a layer of compost over the roots and add a layer of straw, up to 6 inches, to keep them cosy for the winter.

hello. I have worked up an

hello. I have worked up an area about 4 ft by 40 ft and planted grape vines. would asparagus be a good companion plant intermingled with them? I am in the upper peninsula of mich

It might depend on the setup.

It might depend on the setup. It would be best to keep them away from each other. The asparagus ferns need light, and the vines, depending on the trellising etc., may create too much shade. Depending on how much you train the vines, too, they might inhibit the asparagus. Asparagus ferns can grow 6 feet tall--which might also block the light from the grapes. You could set aside a block of area for the asparagus bed, though, at one end of your plot.

First I live in Central

First I live in Central Florida. (We don't really have seasons) I planted my asparagus 4 years ago and they have produced for the first time! Finally! I have never cut them back. I read you shouldn't harvest the first year to eat. So, do I cut the asparagus and discard? Do I leave it alone? Do I cut the whole thing down in October or so? I don't know what I should be doing if anything, for next year. Thank you in advance.

Hi, Karen. Check out the

Hi, Karen. Check out the Harvest/Storage section above.

Shoyld wild asparagus root be

Shoyld wild asparagus root be dried before making tea with it?

Yes. You dig up the

Yes. You dig up the underground shoots, rhizome and roots in the autumn and air dry them.

Hi, I bought some Mary

Hi, I bought some Mary Washington asparagus seeds earlier this year and then got too busy to plant them. I know it takes 3 years to establish, so can I plant now and get a head start on year 1, so that i can maybe harvest a bit in the spring of 2017? I live in Denver so would it help to start them inside and let them get fairly large before transplanting next spring?

If the asparagus ferns get

If the asparagus ferns get tall enough that they begin to fall over, should they be staked up or just let them fall over? Thanks.

Just let them fall over.

Just let them fall over. Don't cut back these ferns until after frost has turned them brown.

I live in the Caribbean and I

I live in the Caribbean and I grew asparagus from seed almost four years ago, which is still situated in the original position. I started reaping about six weeks ago and still getting very large strong stems. Would you still suggest only reaping for the eight weeks, and is it possible to reap more than once a year in the tropics.

I planted 16 crowns in a

I planted 16 crowns in a raised bed 5 weeks ago. 9 of the crowns sprouted a fern but 7 (all in a row, I suspect from the same bag) didn't. I dug up a couple of the crowns but didn't see any growth. Now that it's basically summer what should I do? I live in zone 6B. If I can still find crowns, should I plant again or wait for next Spring?

Were the 7 a different

Were the 7 a different variety of asparagus from the other 9? If so, it could be a factor (such as coping with unusual weather differently, etc). Or, are they in more heat/shade/dampness? Check to make sure that they did not get too dry, which can significantly affect growth. Also, check for diseases or pests. If you think that the crowns are a lost cause, then we'd recommend waiting until next spring to plant again. For best results, you want the plants to have plenty of time to grow ferns over the summer, so that they can produce food for themselves to survive over winter. In the meantime, it might possibly be that those 7 might just perk up in a few weeks.

I just moved into a house

I just moved into a house that has a bunch of asparagus planted in the back. It is almost June, and I read that asparagus is best harvested in April where I live (Kansas). The asparagus has not been harvested yet this year, and there are ferns growing from the shoots. Have I missed the harvest? If I cut the ferns down to the Troy, will new shoots sprout? It has been a pretty cool and wet spring so far.

Hi Sara, That's correct.

Hi Sara, That's correct. Asparagus is usually harvested by mid-April when the stalks are tender (about 6 to 10 inches long) and the tips are still tight. Any larger and we would discard them. Once it develops foliage, it's too tough to eat.
Do not cut them back while green! This is how they store energy for a good crop next year. Wait until the frosts turn the ferns brown; then you can cut them back.

I recently found a few crowns

I recently found a few crowns of asparagus, age unknown, but at least 15 yrs. they were buried in weeds and burdocks. I cleaned up around them and I picked a piece off each and there is a second shoot growing. Should I leave those and let it do its thing? What should I do or add to soil to get them happier. They must be doing something good on their own to still be surviving after being forgotten and lost :). Also will more crowns form from these 2 crowns? Thanks for your help and any idea or thoughts are much appreciated :D

Good find! Asparagus, once

Good find! Asparagus, once established, can produce 15 to 30 years! Aspargus loves lots of organic matter and compost mixed in. It's also important to keep out weeds so you can mulch the bed in late winter so the weeds don't grow in the spring.
You should divide your asparagus crowns--and do this every few years. To divide, first discard any woody parts. Then you gently handle the crown--and pull apart each section that has a strong growing point. Immediately replant with the budsvisible at the soil surface.
Fertilize every spring. We like fish, blood and bone fertilizer. Let the foliage yellow and die back; do not cut it. When you mulch for winter, then cut the plants down to the soil level.

Thanks you so much. When is

Thanks you so much. When is the best time to transplant or separate the crowns :)

Divide asparagus crowns in

Divide asparagus crowns in late fall after the last ferns have died back. Note that any crowns you divide/transplant may take a full year to establish.

I am learning so much from

I am learning so much from all these q&a! We just moved to a new place in the spring and found asparagus. It now has some red 'berries'. I want to expand the patch, so I thought to scatter the seed where I want more to grow. Do I pick the 'berries' now when they are fully red but not totally dry, or wait for them to totally dry on the dead pkant before picking? I have already picked some and put them in the window to dry.
Now, another question- WHEN do I scatter the seed and do I throw down whole berries or take the seeds out first?
AND (!) in regards to dividing crowns every few years ... how do you know when they are ready to be divided?
AND (!!!!!) the patch is really grown up with weeds. If I start yanking weeds out, will I harm the aspargus? Wondering if I should just leave it all alone until a frost totally kills it all.

Thank you!!
Joanne in SW MO

Yes, you can collect the red

Yes, you can collect the red berries in order to grow new asparagus plants -- although it's a slower method and less effective method than planting one-year crowns. To save the seeds: Let the seeds dry, then rub your palms against each other to separate the seed from the skin. Save in a dry, cool place and then seed in late April (1 inch deep).With this approach, do not harvest for a couple of years. Be sure you never cut the asparagus ferns until the hard freeze kills them; the leaves ensure that the plants stores energy for the following year's growth. 
In terms of crowns, you divide them when productions seems to slow down--every few years.
Weeding can be a pain. Start early. Lightly till the bed in the spring before they start to grow big.  Keep it up! Every time it rains, go weed! In the winter, when the ferns die down, cut them down and also cut down any weeds. Then cover the bed with compost and mulch until the spring.

Last year i planted asparagus

Last year i planted asparagus and they grew very well. However,I never trimmed them and let it go through winter. This summer I only have 4 asparagus ferns. Any suggestions on what i should do?

Hi, Heather, The fact that

Hi, Heather, The fact that you did not cut the fronds should not cause the crop to diminish (althought that should be done after the fronds die back naturally). A couple of things come ti mind:
• did you water sufficiently last year?
• has the plot been weeded?
and perhaps most importantly,
• is the soil a heavily composted bed and is your pH at propoer range (6.0 to 8.0)?
Check these things and "fix," if possible. For local details, you might contact your state cooperative extension (get info via a Web search).
We hope this helps.

Please settle something for

Please settle something for me. My neighbor says the more you cut the more you get. I say it depends on how many roots you planted. I planted over 5 roots three years ago and now I am getting more spears, but I am stopping now because it is week three. So then I realized I needed to plant more roots because 5 roots weren't enough for a 2-3 person dinner, so I planted 30 more roots, two years ago. So how many spears can you get from one root? Or is it true that the more you cut the more you get.

Hi, Gloria, So we're on the

Hi, Gloria, So we're on the same page: the "roots" are actually crowns. It's hard to figure the number of spears per crown; we've seen/heard it stated as 1/2 pound per crown and as a measure of mouths your feeding: for example, plant 5 crowns per eater to eat fresh harvested. If you plan to freeze the crop, plant 10 crowns per eater.
Overall harvest volume depends more on the health of the plant's fern growth and your not overharvesting. Overharvesting reduces fern growth and so harvest the next year.
The harvest season in years is typically as follows:
• in 2nd year, harvest for 2 weeks
• in 3rd year, harvest for 4 weeks
• in 4th year, harvest for 6 weeks
• in the 5th year and beyond, harvest for 8 weeks.
More during warm spells, when spears are 5 to 7 inches in length. And all of these presumes that soil and water conditions are optimal.
Stop harvesting when spears are pencil thin, no matter what the week.
So it may be better to say that the older the crop, the more you get.
We hope this helps.

Can you plant asparagus in a

Can you plant asparagus in a planter and bring them in for the winter?

Asparagus is sometimes grown

Asparagus is sometimes grown in a container, but it is difficult. One plant needs a deep and wide planter, at least 20 inches by 20 inches (some sources recommend even larger). The container should be placed on wheels for easy transport, and the pot should have drainage holes. Keep in mind that the fronds will grow quite tall (several feet). Also, the first 2 or 3 years, you'll need to avoid harvesting--so it would be just an ornamental early on. But if you are up to a challenge, it certainly is worth a try!



I'm in hardiness zone 7b. Is

I'm in hardiness zone 7b. Is it too late in the spring to start my seeds indoors for a fall transplant?

I moved into a house 2 years

I moved into a house 2 years ago and it already had an established asparagus garden (no idea how old). We got a dog last year and when the ferns were tall and green the dog trampled through them and broke quite a few. Last year I had about 60 spears come up, but this year I only have like 8 so far. Did the dog ruin the asparagus bed, or will more spears come up? How should I take care of the established asparagus bed to make sure I get more spears either this year or next?

It is possible that the

It is possible that the plants are recovering from losing their food-producing ferns from last year. Asparagus will sometimes will grow weak, spindly spears in this case (or if they were harvested too much). Or, it might instead be that the weather in your area is delaying the spears from emerging for a bit and that they will be fine in a few weeks. You might also check for disease, such as crown rot, which can also cause poor production. If crowns appear healthy, and after a while it does look like the plants are not producing, allow them to rest and do not harvest this year. Allow any spears that do emerge to develop fully into ferns so that they can help the plant to make food for the winter. Fertilize over the growing season as needed, and make sure that they get the proper amount of water. Provide mulch and hand weed, being careful around shallow asparagus roots. Next year, harvest very lightly or not at all; allow most spears to produce ferns again, to build up food resources in the crowns.

I planted 1 year old crowns

I planted 1 year old crowns two weeks ago, I have been waiting for anything to sprout up so I can slowly fill in the trench per the recommendations on the package. How long should I wait before I check the roots for rot? I do not want to check to early and disturb them. We have been having mild weather since I planted (45-55 degrees) with only 1-2 warmer days above 60 degrees. I watered when I planted, then again a week later so they don't get "wet feet" and then it rained this week. I did not check the Ph before planting, but used compost, could this be the culprit? Also, when we have colder frosty nights, should I be covering them to keep them warm?

I did the same thing, and was

I did the same thing, and was wondering the same thing. It took almost a month, (about a week of good, warm, weather) for them to show, but now at about 6 weeks, I only have one plant that is less than a foot tall. Have patience, and you will be rewarded.

I bought about 4 doz crowns

I bought about 4 doz crowns that are 3,4, and 5 years old. Do I still have to wait the 3 years before I can harvest or will I be able to harvest this year?

Hi, Kara, If these are

Hi, Kara,
If these are transplants, you might be able to pick them in their "first year"—first year for you. You will know when you see them: they may be thin, but they would be edible. Watch for overcrowding; if the spears become thinner and thinner, you will need to divide them. (Perhaps your plants are divisions?)

I really don't know if they

I really don't know if they are or not, but they will taste funny if we shouldn't eat them this year?

I bought two year old crowns

I bought two year old crowns and planted them last spring, while they were slow in initially growing, they did produce a small amount of good asparagus. This year, I already have about 40 spears that are about 2" so far.

We just moved to southeast

We just moved to southeast Wyoming and there is a garden in the yard that has established asparagus growing. I have no idea if I should thin, prune, cut, or simply leave it alone this spring and look for shoots in April or May. Any suggestions for this area of the country? What preparation should I make this fall for the winter freeze?

That's a gift! Do you have

That's a gift! Do you have any idea how old it is?? Second year beds should not be picked; third year, sparingly over month; fourth or more years, over eight weeks, as often as twice a day, if necessary. Cut with a knife or snap spears off with your fingers at ground level.
Some care tips are above. For example, keep the bed weeded (a good layer of mulch will smother them), and keep the bed thickly mulched, side-dress, or fertilize, in spring and early fall with a balanced organic fertilizer or top-dress with compost tea, and cut down dead foliage in late fall.
Check the soil pH. Asparagus likes it sweet. It, pH, should be 6.0 to 8.0. Your extension, below, can help or get a kit at a garden supply store for a couple dollars. Amend accordingly.
Your local (Wyoming) extension service may be of assistance, too: http://www.wyomingextension.or...
The bed may be doing very well, but you're wise to plan ahead to keep it so.

Some of my ferns are nearly

Some of my ferns are nearly 2' tall. Is this normal? I planted them last Spring. I'm new to growing asparagus and don't know how tall they get. Thank you!

This is normal. Asparagus

This is normal. Asparagus ferns can be about 2 or 3 feet when young; older plants can produce taller ones, sometimes between 5 and 8 feet tall.

Hello, I live in central

Hello, I live in central Florida and out of curiosity of how much of a green thumb I have I planted a bunch of seeds. My asparagus was the first to take of and take off running. It's now in a bio degradable pot but the roots are punching through the pot. I honestly do not like the Florida ground and am wondering if there is a better way to transplant the little guys and girls. Would it be wise to get a huge pot? A longer one? Please help us.

Hi Cory, If you don't want to

Hi Cory,
If you don't want to amend your garden soil your best bet is to build a raised bed and fill it with a good mix of soil and compost. The bed needs to be at least 12 inches high. The asparagus is perennial and will keep growing and getting bigger.

I'm growing mine in s Georgia

I'm growing mine in s Georgia on the Florida line. Iv grow in ground and in raised planters. Raised planters produce much better. I use plastic square container about 2 ft deep. Leave room at top for manipulating soil level. I layer bottom with rock and then about seven inches of white sand. I mix potting soil about half and half with sand. Holes every 4 inches for drainage. That sits atop railroad tie with 4 red bricks on it. That keep standing water flowing out. Keep moist but avoid soggy.

Hi, I was going to build a


I was going to build a raised bed for some perennial things... And I was wondering if you have any idea about planting rhubarb in the same bed as asparagus... Or if I'm going to have to make 2 beds instead.

Hi Joeri, Both rhubarb and

Hi Joeri,
Both rhubarb and asparagus will spread over time and the rhubarb leaves will shade some of the asparagus. It would be better to plant them in separate beds. You can try to grow rhubarb in a big, deep container.

Our asparagus bed is probably

Our asparagus bed is probably 4 or 5 years old. We get a small amount from it - the bed was already here when we moved in and I do not know where the plants are planted at or if theya re in rows as it comes up somewhat sporadic. My question however is after the April early May harvest can I plant other things in the bed like cucumbers or melons?

Asparagus can be interplanted

Asparagus can be interplanted with other crops, such as strawberries, and even a few mixed in with flowers. Tomatoes, parsley, and basil are said to be a companion plants of asparagus and help with pest control. Be careful about planting new crops in an established bed, however, so that you do not disturb the asparagus crowns. Choose more shallow-rooted crops (asparagus is deep-rooted), and those that require similar growing conditions. Squash, pumpkins, and tomatoes have deep roots, so you might want to plant more shallow rooted types (you can put beneficial tomatoes at the perimeter of the bed). Cucumber roots are medium-depth. Try not to crowd the crowns. Keep in mind that the tall asparagus fronds might shade other plants. Also, cucurbits tend to be heavy feeders (as is asparagus), so be sure that the asparagus crowns are getting enough food; other crops planted in the same space will compete for nutrients. On the other hand, certain low-growing crops can help with weed control.

I want to put in an asparagus

I want to put in an asparagus bed but my husband says a friend planted & ended up with it coming up all over the yard. is all invasive?

Asparagus is not very

Asparagus is not very invasive. It grows slowly and you do want it to multiply in a designated garden plot. If it starts growing in an unwanted area you can just pull it out. Raised beds is also an option.

I live in coastal Mississippi

I live in coastal Mississippi and have raised beds of asparagus. Beds are about 4'x10'x8" made of concrete blocks. I want to raise the height of beds to 16" by adding another row of blocks. Will it work to gradually add a couple of inches of good composted soil for the established plants to grow up into, over a period of time to accomplish this goal? I have read all I can find, but nothing that addresses this issue. Thanks for your help!

Hi Nellie, Asparagus roots

Hi Nellie,
Asparagus roots don't do well if planted too deep. Research has shown that the deeper asparagus crowns are planted, the more the total yield is reduced. It's recommended to plant crowns 5 to 6 inches deep. Depending on how deep your crowns are now adding more soil to the top will cause a smaller harvest next year. You may need to lift the asparagus and replant after you have added the soil.

I planted asparagus seeds

I planted asparagus seeds about 2 months ago. Nearly all of them sprouted and I now have seedlings that are 4 inches tall, yet there is only 1 tiny spear per seed planted. When do other spears appear from same root system? I live in Half Moon Bay and the seedlings are indoors near a sunny window.

Hi Huey, It's going to take a

Hi Huey,
It's going to take a while for your seedlings to bear lots of spears. One crown usually grows 3 to 4 spears after 3 years. It's recommended to plant about 10 crowns per person to have enought asparagus to eat.

I planted an asparagus crown

I planted an asparagus crown early summer. It grew a couple feet and had long wispy ends a bit like the plant, dill. Anyway I left it out a bit too long in winter into November and the plant looked like it wasn't doing well I chopped it down really short thought it was dead left it by my window inside and now I have one asparagus stock that's about 4 feet tall growing up my window. Will this ever become of anything? I have a picture if there's a place to submit it.... It doesn't look like any other asparagus I've seen on the Internet. I wonder if mine has grown too tall?

It never will become anything

It never will become anything other than a spear. There are a few farmers who just plant the tips for fast production of the spears. Although I've never seen one 4 feet tall.

We received many 1 yr old

We received many 1 yr old crowns from a friend who wasn't able to plant them this year. They came in a plastic mesh bag with no media. The ground is already frozen. How should we care for them over the winter until the soil is able to be worked in the spring?

Asparagus crowns should be

Asparagus crowns should be kept in moist sand, or wrapped in damp newspapers, and stored in a cool location, like a basement.

I have asparagus turning 4

I have asparagus turning 4 years old next spring in my community garden. I have moved and want to transfer the asparagus. If I transfer how long do I have to wait to harvest it considering it is already established

Transplant your plants while

Transplant your plants while they are dormant ideally in the spring just before the spears start to show growth. Carefully dig them up with a fork and try not to disturbe or brake the roots. Do not harvest too heavily next year to give the asparagus a chance to re-build its strength.

I pulled my wife's asparagus

I pulled my wife's asparagus plants up this fall after their 1st year,leaving the roots. Will the plants be ok? she seems to think not

It's advised to cut the

It's advised to cut the asparagus back in the fall, but it is important that you wait until all of the foliage has died back and turned brown or yellow. Once the foliage has died, cut it down to about two inches above the ground.

My garden has both asparagus

My garden has both asparagus and other vegetables. How close to the asparagus can I turn over the soil to prepare for planting other vegetables? I.e., how far from the stalks do the roots grow?

Asparagus need about 18

Asparagus need about 18 inches between rows so we wouldn't plant any nearer than that.

We need to transplant an

We need to transplant an established bed, probably twenty or more years old. Should we do that after the frost and before the freeze. We were going to dig trenches and transplant dirt, roots and all. Might try and divide a few crowns as it has never been. Any advice appreciated!

Hi Lea-Ann, Transplanting is

Hi Lea-Ann,
Transplanting is best done when the plants are dormant. Early spring before they start growing or late fall (before your first frost). Be aware that after so many years the roots may be tangled underground. Lift the crowns with a fork with as little disturbance of the roots as possible. Try to separate the crowns and remove any weeds. Give the plants some water after you have transplanted them. Good luck!

Asparagus Some of my

Some of my asparagus ferns have seeds on them. I have read that these take energy away from the plant's root system. Should I cut these ferns when I see the seeds appear or wait until late fall and cut down with the rest of the ferns?

Do not cut down the ferns

Do not cut down the ferns until the spring; the fern growth is needed for next year's asparagus spear production.  Seeds are on the female plants and, yes, the seeds do reduce yield. Most of the newer hybrids, such as Jersey Giant, are all male plants, producing no seeds.

NO plants this year at all! I

NO plants this year at all! I have a 3 year old container bed that I have never harvested. It grew the first year I planted it from seedlings and again the second year - I let the plants go yellow into the winter and then cut it down when it was dry. But this year nothing came up at all! I live in California (coastal) and we had a very dry (drought) winter. Could this be the cause? Also, I imagine the mulch/soil was not thick enough at the top. Thanks.

Hi, Leah, Drought conditions

Hi, Leah,
Drought conditions could be the problem. Asparagus, being a perennial, needs water to maintain and increase its vigor. Lack of adequate moisture can bring on Fusarium, which is essentially rot of various parts: stem, crown, and root.
You mention planting in a container... Asparagus will not thrive in a container for more than a couple of seasons. If this is a traditional container, it would have been more susceptible to drying out; most containers are.
Sorry we have not better news.



The berries are seeds (and

The berries are seeds (and poisonous, for the record), and only female plants produce them. It's not clear why they no longer appear, but if the harvest is satisfactory, you're doing something right.

Our asparagus bed is in it's

Our asparagus bed is in it's third year. When weeding I found several young plants that hve come up from seeds. HowndonImtransplant them to a new bed ? They are 2-5 inches tall. thanks, Cheryl from PA

You can carefully transplant

You can carefully transplant them to a new bed. It will take a few years before they start producing.

I planted some 2 year old

I planted some 2 year old crowns a month or so ago, and the plants are starting to come up. Some are about 18" tall and fern. Others have just barely broken through. Do I let these plants continue to grow, or do I need to cut them. Also will I be able to get any stalks to eat this year or have to wait until next spring?

I have 3 plants well into

I have 3 plants well into their 3rd year.
The plants are very tall, over 6 feet.
The ends of the branches look like
ostrich feathers. Will these turn to
spears? What can I expect?

The tall plants you have

The tall plants you have started off as spears. You have to harvest them when they coming up out of the ground before they get too big. Happens really fast!

Hi Jim, If you planted your

Hi Jim, If you planted your asparagus from seed, we recommend that you start harvesting after this third year. It's good to let the spears grow into ferns for good production next year. Optionally: lightly fertilize for good top growth. Keep moist. Then, after frost (when the foliage yellows), cut the spears down to 2-inch stubs to force dormancy. In the fall, add 4 to 6 inches of mulch and some organic matter and nutrients. In warm areas, withhold water in October and November to make ferns go dormant (turn yellow). Remove dried tops in early winter before new sprouts appear.

I live in SE Asia. When you

I live in SE Asia.

When you state to withhold water from the asparagus, do you mean completely, or minimise watering? Oct and Nov can be monsoon season here.



this is the third year of the

this is the third year of the asparagus plants. they are tall and branches are like ostrich feathers. Will they turn into spears?

I planet about nine asparagus

I planet about nine asparagus crowns about a month and a half ago in my garden. When should I expect to see the asparagus breaking through the soil. Should I have seen them by now or is it a long initial wait.

Hi, Jason, You should start

Hi, Jason,
You should start to see shoots soon. If you do not, reconsider that asparagus is fairly particular: it likes warm to hot weather, heavy compost, slightly sweet (pH of 6 to 8) well-draining soil, and regular watering (keep them damp during dry weather). With care, you can apply compost and/or lime while the plant is in the ground, if conditions warrant it.
You should not pick it until the second year and then only sparingly. So, while it's a long initial wait, as you suggest, and a longer one to harvest—but worth it!

Your post says slightly

Your post says slightly sweet, but the top of the page says slightly acidic. Is each better for a different variety?

Mint has invaded my

Mint has invaded my established asparagus bed. Does anyone have a remedy for getting rid of mint without destroying my asparagus bed? I pull it out, but it comes back with a vengance! I am organic, so I use no chemicals.

This is not an easy fix. Pull

This is not an easy fix. Pull out as much as you can, making sure that you get as many little pieces as possible. (Some advise screening the soil to be sure you have those bits, but this would be a project.) Then smother the mint, but not the asparagus tips, with layers of newspaper. This will eventually break down, so be ready to add more. And be ready to water the asparagus, if the newspaper seems impervious.
This process wll weaken the mint. In a few weeks, lift some of the newspaper. Remove any pale, sun-deprived mint. You can return the newspaper and keep it there for a while longer; it won't hurt the 'grass. Just be prepared to do it again next season. It may take few attempts to clear.
In the meantime, remove the mint from the surrounding area.

My raised asparagus is in a

My raised asparagus is in a low spot of my yard which I need to fill in. The bed is raised with paving stones, would it be possible for me to build up the paving stones (up to 12 inches) then add soil on top of my bed? Would that suffocate and kill the asparagus or will they send up shoots through the added depth?

Many gardeners top-dress by

Many gardeners top-dress by adding 1or 2 inches of compost onto a bed in fall and the crowns rise through it.
In the winter, a mulch of 4 to 6 inches is advisable, but is often removed.
So, a foot or so of coverage could be too much at one time for the spears to survive. We suggest that contact your local extension service for more details.

How do you combat asparagus

How do you combat asparagus beetles throughout the year. They really can chow down the ferns. Unfortunately in august we had a long vacation and the ferns were chewed right down, may have been some worms as well. Starting year 4 of the bed and we're expecting the same difficulties.

* One of the most important

* One of the most important things to do is to remove plant debris in the garden, including spent asparagus fronds, in the fall, since the beetles overwinter in plant debris.
* Asparagus beetles are said to be repelled by petunias, marigolds, and basil, so you might try planting those nearby.
* Cover the asparagus with row covers during the growing season.
* Handpick the beetles and larvae when you see them; you can shake the fronds over a bucket of water to knock the pests off.
* Chickens help to remove the pests, if that's an option.
* Ask a garden nursery about insecticide options.
* Harvest the spears as early as you can.
* The spotted asparagus beetle is similar to the common asparagus beetle, but lays its eggs near the asparagus berries, so male-only asparagus cultivars will help to deter this species.

my asparagus plants are 3

my asparagus plants are 3 years old. some of the shoots are nearly three feet tall. is this normal and should I just cut them and eat them?

Asparagus grows very fast and

Asparagus grows very fast and can be picked nearly daily in a healthy productive bed. When asparagus gets that tall you can be sure the majority of the stem is tough and fiberous. Break the asparagus off where the tender meets the tough. It should cut or snap off easily at this point. The spears should be picked when they are 6-10 inches to be at the most tender.

I heard that you cut

I heard that you cut asparagus close to the ground, it must dry out before another spear can start. I have been using a carrot peeler to take the out side of the spear on the bottom after that its good to ear, and more.

The farm where we live has a

The farm where we live has a small bed of asparagus that has been here since long before we moved here 36 years ago. It is at the edge of what used to be an acre garden plot that is now a field and is covered over by grass. Most springs, I can harvest enough for a couple of meals, but it's SO hard to find the spears before they start to open up in all that grass! I've thought about digging the asparagus up, but I'm afraid I'll kill it off. It goes to fern and I let it stand until spring mainly so I can find where to look for it the next spring. Do you have any recommendations for getting the grass out of the bed, or moving the plants so I don't have to keep going out on my hands and knees to run my fingers through the grass to find my asparagus spears? Thanks for any help.

Opinions vary on when to

Opinions vary on when to attack the weeds: in fall, after the first hard frost (or maybe after a couple of frosts, depending on how hard one frost might be). Or in early spring, before the weeds get going.
In digging and pulling the weeds, remember that the asparagus crown is probably 6 to 8 inches below the surface and, after so long in the ground, it has probably expanded in overall size. Use a hoe or other such tool to dig without piercing or breaking the asparagus crown. You could do this both in spring and fall, considering how overgrown it may be after so long.
When you have the bed as weed free as possible, apply 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch—wood chips, compost, or clean straw. It will help to minimize weeds.
Several sources mention using salt, diluted in water as a traditional remedy for weeds in asparagus, but we do not recommend it.

My husband has used a weed

My husband has used a weed killer(round up is one he has used) on the weeds and grass in our asparagus beds. It has not hurt the asparagus. Good luck

My mother in law says her

My mother in law says her father would break up a salt block and spread over the bed. It will kill out the grass and other plants but leave the asparagus growing great. I tried it this year and it worked amazingly.

Do you have more specific

Do you have more specific directions about the salt type and amount to use? Morning glory is choking my asparagus stalks. Thanks in advance for any more info you could provide.

At what concentration rate

At what concentration rate and what time of year did you use Round Up on your asparagus? I have quack grass and morning glory I am trying to get out of my patch.

I had an elderly friend whose

I had an elderly friend whose asparagus patch has sodded over as well. I went out in Fall and dug all the grass off of the patch and it grew beautifully the next Spring. Just don't dig any deeper than you have to to pull that sod off and you should be fine and feel great that you are letting the asparagus "breathe" again.

I planted let year, I seen

I planted let year, I seen 3or4 dill looks no ferns before winter. Today I noticed I have 1spear about 10"tall all by it self. About 1/2 pencil thick. Will I get more... And do I just let it grow this year.

I use a weed eater to control

I use a weed eater to control grass in my 15 year old asparagus bed. Clean out the bed in the spring before grass and asparagus start growing. After each cutting of asparagus, weed eat grass down to the ground. When you stop harvesting at the beginning of June, grass is usually slowing down for summer and asparagus will fern.

I planted with the roots

I planted with the roots vertical instead of horizontal will this be ok

I planted my asparagus crowns

I planted my asparagus crowns 3yrs ago and they are stong. Thick shoots etc. Plan to harvest some this year, but am not sure how many to cut? Do I cut ALL shoots for a couple of weeks, or half the shoots on each crown for the same length of time and let the other half turn to foliage similtaneously? Advice please!

We suggest that you cut all

We suggest that you cut all shoots for 3 - 5 weeks and then stop and let them grow to gain strength for next spring.



Asparagus gets along with

Asparagus gets along with most vegetables but there are certain plants that are extra beneficial. Parsley and basil will help with growth and vigor and tomatoes planted near asparagus help deter asparagus beetles.

I am doing a container garden

I am doing a container garden this year and want to have asparagus- I purchased the 2 yr crowns and have a half barrel planter that i was thinking would be good enough to start them out. I have garden soil but everything I am reading says they like sandy loamy soil? What would be the best to buy? Something like the cactus soil? Or am I thinking too hard about it?!

Asparagus isn't something

Asparagus isn't something we've tried in containers but it should grow in just about any soil type as long as it's well-drained, so make sure to put a layer of gravel at the bottom of your half barrel to help with drainage.

I started my raised bed last

I started my raised bed last year, with new spears ready to harvest now. You should look for a companion planting guide, it will help prevent pests and reduce the need for any harmful chemicals. I did companion planting with parsley. Hope this helps.

Hi Carli, You can make your

Hi Carli,
You can make your own soil mix. Mix together equal parts of potting soil, sand, compost and aged manure.


I will be starting this

I will be starting this spring to plant a raised bed of asparagus. I have been reading a lot to make sure I plant the roots properly. We live in So Dak where the winters can be very cold. Do I need to cover the bed with leaves etc in the fall or will the plants just go dormant & return in the spring with out covering them?

I am getting ready to order

I am getting ready to order asparagus crowns for the first time. I am tempted to buy the expensive crowns that are 3 years old so I will be able to harvest the next year, when will these be ready to harvest? Or do you have to wait just as long with the three year as the as the two year crowns? Also how many plants do I need per person?

Each crown will produce about

Each crown will produce about 1/2 lb. of spears per year when fully established. Plant 10-12 crowns per person.
Many gardeners don't think that there is much gain from buying 3-year crowns and the younger crowns are less likely to break when planting. Even with the younger crowns you can harvest a few spears after the crowns have been growing a full year.

Two years ago I bought three

Two years ago I bought three year 3YR crowns.This year they just matured into 6Ft. plants gathering food for the crowns.They are powerful looking,this spring I will digest every piece that cones up.So invest into 3YR. crowns,I mean it.

I have heard of using rock

I have heard of using rock salt to help control weeds and help the crowns. How much and when is the best time to apply.

According to one reader, till

According to one reader, till in the spring as soon as you can--and then apply rock salt. For a 20 foot-square area, apply about 50 pounds of rock salt. You should enjoy a weedless asparagus patch!

I would think with that much

I would think with that much salt it would be weed free. Not sure it would need salt at the table when you were ready to eat it.

Can a light salad mix be

Can a light salad mix be planted in the same bed as asparagus? Nothing that the roots would go too deep. Starting my first raised bed and it seems kind of a waste to only have the asparagus in it. (Can you tell I'm new to this?)

Thanks in advance!

This is a new question for

This is a new question for us! As aspargus and lettuce are "companion plants," it might be OK to plant asparagus beween rows of lettuce and may even help their growth. Many gardeners do not put the asparagus in the regular vegetables beds. Mine is near the compost bin as it loves the heavy organic matter and you really don't notice it. It is vital that your asparagus bed doesn't have any weeds so keep it weed-free.

I have had luck with planting

I have had luck with planting asparagus and strawberries together in a perennials bed that I do not disturb. Both seem happy and are productive, and it's an efficient use of space in my small garden!

Help! I was in fall clean up

Help! I was in fall clean up mode and pulled- not cut-our well established (over 3 years old) asparagus plants that had gone yellow. Will it still grow in the spring? Or did I just pull the whole thing up? I covered with compost and straw to be safe...

Also we planted hops in the asparagus bed. Hops also have a large root system. Should I move it so they do not compete?

Hi Sarah, Asparagus roots

Hi Sarah,
Asparagus roots spread horizontally and will over several years develop into a thick mat of roots and underground shoots. By pulling the tops you may have pulled some roots but hopefully your bed is established enough so that there are still roots in the soil that will grow next year. The hops will compete with the asparagus and eventually take over. We suggest moving it.

I planted asparagus 3 years

I planted asparagus 3 years ago, so this the year I should have been able to harvest it. Only problem is, it's certainly not nearly the size of a pencil! Very thin stalks and lots of fuzzy foliage. It's now mid-November, so what should I do with all that top growth? Also, what's the difference between harvesting and cutting the stalks at ground level?

Spindly spears usually happen

Spindly spears usually happen with there isn't enough soil covering the crowns. Over time, the soil will recede; make sure you have 3 to 5 inches of soil covering the crowns.
When you harvest spears, they should be 5 to 8 inches in length. You can either cut or snap the stalks.To cut a spear, run a knife into the soil at the base of the spear and carefully sever it.
You can allow some spears to develop into those fuzzy ferns; it helps the plant develop sufficient top growth for good spear production.

In the asparagus bed are some

In the asparagus bed are some mini asparagus plants. The first two years I thought they were weeds mimicking asparagus so I plucked them out. I now realize they are baby asparagus. Should I still weed them out or should I let them grow? I'm worried they will steal the nutrition from the mother plant.

Every spring, you should see

Every spring, you should see new shoots. You want to harvest them when they are only 9 inches tall. Just snap at ground level.  If you find emerging spears during harvest time, remove them.

I wasn't aware that I wasn't

I wasn't aware that I wasn't suppose to trim the fern at all my first year. It was messy looking and I trimmed the top, leaving about 2-3 feet of the stalk. Will that mess up production? How can I fix this?

Your asparagus will be fine.

Your asparagus will be fine. In early spring, mow or cut back the stalks to ground level.

I planted some asparagus

I planted some asparagus starter plants this spring that were about 6" tall in a raised bed. I would like to move them to another area of my yard. I will be sure the new area is totally weed free, tested for 6.0 to 6.5 ph and have plenty of compost dug in & put some mulch on the top. Can I dig deep w/a shovel & move roots with surrounding dirt very carefully or will it kill the asparagus or slow down the growing process? Any suggestions?

Asparagus is quite hardy.

Asparagus is quite hardy. It's normally transplanted in early spring, though some readers seem to prefer fall. Any time is fine as long as the asparagus is in a dormant period and not in growth—and the soil is at least 50 degrees F.
Here is more information:

It's my first year growing it

It's my first year growing it what do I need to do for winter anything special

In the first year, there's

In the first year, there's nothing special you need to do. Let it get established. The ferns can trap snow and provide moisture.  In the spring, you can remove old fern growth and wait for the new spears to emerge.

What months are best suited

What months are best suited to harvest in ?

It depends on where you live.

It depends on where you live. In general, asparagus is harvested from late February to June, with April being the prime month.

I planted 3 yr bulbs in fall

I planted 3 yr bulbs in fall 2012, was told I could harvest this summer. I have lots of plants, some look ready to eat, the rest are beautiful ferns. I was told I could harvest this year but now all I see on the internet is to cut down and wait till at least next year. I'd like some advice on what to do. Trim,cut down, harvest the ones that look perfectly ready to eat? Thanks!

Even though these are

Even though these are 3-year-old crowns instead of 1- or 2-year-olds, it's best to not harvest the first year after planting. The second year, go lightly, and the third, the plants should be established enough to handle a regular harvest. According to some gardeners, 3-year-old crowns can sometimes can be a little more fussy in adjusting to their new home, compared to 1- and 2-year-olds, so it's best to wait in case.

If you are really set on a harvest this year, and your plants look vigorous, with lots of healthy shoots on each crown, and a healthy green color to the ferns, you might be OK in harvesting extremely lightly for about 2 weeks--leave several shoots on each crown for the ferns to grow and provide food for the plant to help it to become established. It would be better, though, to not harvest at all this year.

Let the ferns brown and die back before cutting them down. These allow the plant to make food and gain in vigor.

Thank you so much! I feel so

Thank you so much! I feel so much better about my asparagus "forest" now! They are very green and lush but I will wait till next year; I am sure they will be even more ready then!

Does a field have to be

Does a field have to be burned before asparagus can be planted? and do farmers have to wait 7 years before planting the seeds?

If you're creating space for

If you're creating space for an asparagus bed, you just want to make sure it's weed- and grass-free as asparagus can not compete with weeds. You can either treat the area with an herbicide that's OK for food crops or/and you could cover the area with black plastic during the summer before planting time.
You don't have to burn a field. However, some gardeners like to burn the bed every spring to cut back on weeds and insects.

I just planted this year they

I just planted this year they are just now coming up fern like. Now what do I do next, I'd appreicate anyones help this is all new to me.

Do not harvest the asparagus

Do not harvest the asparagus during the planting year. Wait until next year. Do not cut down the fern growth at the end of the growing season. Wait until the spring. Then put down mulch and keep out weeds. Make sure you test your soil; amend with lime if the pH is below 6.0 to 6.5. When harvest season comes (watch closely!), pick the spears daily before they start to put on their foliage.

I'm confused. The first part

I'm confused. The first part of the article these comments are attached to, say to cut back 1st growing season ferns in the late fall and side-dress. The answer in this comment section says to NOT cut down the ferns in the fall and wait until spring. Which is correct?

Some folks recommend to cut

Some folks recommend to cut the ferns after they turn brown in the fall. If you leave the ferns until spring they will rot on the beds and sometimes encourage insect infestations.

Hey, can I just trim the top

Hey, can I just trim the top of the fern off a bit if it gets over 6 feet tall? It's blocking my view. The bed is 5 years old and has tons of ferns.

It's best to leave the ferns

It's best to leave the ferns alone. Cut them back after the first frost this fall.

Hello. I would like to ask

Hello. I would like to ask you about growing asparagus from seeds.

This year in May I have planted some 15 seeds of asparagus. Nearly 10 sprouted and now they are from 1 to 2 inches tall. I have noticed that most of them have light green tops and one of them has light brown tops (extreme tip, few leaves are light brown). Is this normal, or are they dying (especially that one with light brown colour)? I am new in growing asparagus and I am a bit worried. Also, what are the best conditions for watering and sun? I keep the pots on direct sun (in Macedonia it's quite hot in summer) and I water the pots every second day. Thanks a lot

Asparagus is a cool-region

Asparagus is a cool-region crop. If you sun is very hot move the pots into an area with semi-shade. Asparagus does best in light soil that drains well. Let the soil dry out before you water again so that the roots don't sit in soggy soil.

Thanks. I moved the plants

Thanks. I moved the plants indoors, on the window. So far so good. I'll water them when the soil is dry. Best

A newly planted asparagus tip

A newly planted asparagus tip broke off when it was about 3" tall. It was planted about 3 weeks ago from a crown. Will another asparagus stalk grow in its place?

A stalk is just a plant

A stalk is just a plant shoot. Each crowd grows a bunch of spears so expect more.

Will new crowns produce more

Will new crowns produce more than one shoot? I too broke the top of a new shoot, and so far, all the other crowns planted have only produced one plant, so am wondering if the one I broke will do anything.

What happened? Did another

What happened? Did another one appear?

This is the third or fourth

This is the third or fourth year I have grown asparagus but I have never had anything to harvest. All I have is this fern like plant that is huge!!

What do I need to do to get some yummy asparagus coming up?

Have you had your soil

Have you had your soil tested? Amend it with lime if the pH is below 6.0 to 6.5 --or, follow the fertilizer recommendations based on the results. You can usually get a free soil test from your cooperative extension. Also, make sure you keep the bed free of weeds. Add lots of organic mulch to keep it weed-free and help keep moisture in.

Our asparagus patch is about

Our asparagus patch is about 10 years old. We have maintained it pretty well. But this year there is a two foot wide section, that goes through our patch for approximately 12 feet long where nothing came up. Could it be diseased or is something eating the crowns ?

At this point, you can assume

At this point, you can assume you have a problem. We would gently dig down to find out what's going on. Crown rot would be the usual suspect.

Once the spears turn into

Once the spears turn into cladodes, are they edible or can you make tea from them?

We only eat the young shoots

We only eat the young shoots of asparagus. Asparagus is so healthy that we imagine it would be great in any form--from soup to tea.

Why does most of our

Why does most of our asparagus grow into ferns right away? We have very few spears to cut. The patch is 6-8 years old.

It sounds as if it's too warm

It sounds as if it's too warm where you live. To get good spears each year, the root system needs to store food from the previous year (through the ferns, etc). If it's warm or there are poor growing conditions, spears will be smaller the following spring. Over time, you'll get less and less spears each year. You always want to leave the ferns to help spear production. Also, it's important to divide asparagus roots during the winter into individual plants for replanting.

I am interested in what you

I am interested in what you posted about dividing the asparagus roots during winter for replanting purposes. Do you dig up all of your asparagus every year to separate it? Do you plant it in the same place it was at after you separate it? Can you explain more about this process? Thank you.

If you wish, divide asparagus

If you wish, divide asparagus roots during the winter after the tops have been removed. To divide, use a saw to cut the clump into two or more pieces. When you divide the crowns, you are creating new individual plants that you can replant--either enlarge your asparagus bed or create a new one.

i planted a 2 year old crown

i planted a 2 year old crown i have 2 small foot tall ferns directly above it and another fern 2 feet away where water pools


Botanical Name: 

Asparagus officinalis

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Hardiness Zone: 

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