Growing asparagus in home gardens

A quick guide to asparagus

  • An asparagus plant can last 15 years. Choose its spot in the garden carefully.
  • You can start asparagus from seed or from one-year-old roots, called “crowns.”
  • Crowns grow vertically and horizontally. Planting at the right depth is important.
  • Good soil moisture is important at planting for good root and fern growth.
  • Begin harvest two years after planting crowns, three years after planting seeds.
  • Harvest spears until June 30, and then allow the large feathery ferns to develop.

Asparagus is a sign of spring 

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is one of the earliest harvested vegetables each spring. Asparagus spears are crisp, tender and flavorful.

Asparagus is a perennial plant that comes back from the same root system every year. It needs the rest period that freezing winters provide.

The edible part of the plant is the shoot, or spear, that emerges from the soil. Later in the summer, these shoots will develop into tall plants with fine leaves or ferns.

The fern creates energy that will be stored in the underground portion of the plant to produce the following year’s spears. It is important to take care of the ferns even after the harvest is over to make sure you will have good future harvests.

Soil pH and fertility

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Selecting plants

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Planting

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How to keep your asparagus plants healthy and productive

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Cindy Tong, Extension horticulturalist, and Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2018

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