How to grow Asparagus

How to grow Asparagus

Asparagus, garden asparagus, or sparrow grass is part of the asparagaceae family which includes yucca, hosta, agave, spider plants. What is known for sure is that this fun plant was grown in Egypt some 2,000-3,000 years ago, and also depicted in hieroglyphics. The Greeks and Romans were rumored to use this plant as offering to their gods. And was a luxury crop. Asparagus is mainly cultivated for its edible spears but the leaves or ferns are also edible. Asparagus made the rounds to all the major countries and in the 1500s made it to the new world. By 1800s asparagus was cheaper but still a luxury crop. These days China, Peru, and Mexico are the top producers of asparagus. There are over 300 species, but the most common is green, purple and white varieties. It’ s a very hardy, perennial, cool-season vegetable that can live 12 to 15 years or longer, and takes about 3 years to mature.The scientific name for asparagus is "Asparagus officinalis," which translates to "useful asparagus."

Plant and Go

Botanical Name: Asparagus officinals

Depth: 1½" Space: 4-6" Row: 16-18" Temp: 65-85F
Germ: 3-10 days Sun: Full pH 7.0-7.5  Harvest: 3yrs
Soil: Well drained Container: 18x12" Fertilizer: 5-10-10 Fertilizer Freq. 3-4 
Water: 1" per wk  Sow: Spring  


Companion plant: Leaf Lettuce 


Growing asparagus from seed to flower might not be the most typical approach since it takes 3 to 4 years to mature.  Around mid-February to May, start seeds indoors if you plan on transplanting. If direct sowing then plant after last frost. Some prefer soak their seeds for a couple of hours, then sow seeds 1/2–3/4", 4–6" apart, and water well. Spread 3 inches of straw mulch over the bed to help suppress weed competition and protect the seedlings.Two weeks after planting, add another 2 inches of soil. Continue adding soil periodically until the soil is mounded over the ground level.

When the danger of frost has passed and the soil temperature has warmed to at least 60°F, begin hardening off the seedlings. Gradually expose them to outdoor conditions for a week or two to prevent transplant shock. Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Asparagus is a long-term crop, so ensure the chosen area gets at least 6 hours of sunlight and has no competition from trees or shrubs.

Suggested soil temperature is between 70-85°F for optimal germination. Provide seedlings with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Asparagus seeds can take a while to germinate, sometimes up to 8 weeks. Be patient and keep the soil moist but not soggy.

 Plant seedlings carefully in the furrows, ensuring the crowns are above soil level. Backfill the trenches with soil and water thoroughly. When the seedlings sprout and have their first true leaves, thin them to 6 inches apart within rows. 

Water regularly, especially during hot and dry periods. to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overwatering, which can damage the delicate roots.  Avoid overwatering during the first year as it can damage the young roots. Fertilize seedlings lightly with a balanced organic fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. Asparagus typically takes 3-4 years to mature and set flowers. The delicate white flowers appear in late spring or early summer on separate male and female plants.

You won't be able to harvest your asparagus for the first two years after planting. Once established, each asparagus crown can produce up to 25 spears per year and will continue cropping for 25 years. Although asparagus is cultivated for its spears, allowing some flowering stalks to develop can help ensure pollination and future seed production. You can deadhead spent flowers if you prefer a tidy appearance. Remember, harvesting spears should not begin until the second year after planting and should be limited to a short period in the third year. Full harvest can continue from the fourth year onwards.

Fun Fact

In France, asparagus was once considered a luxury food enjoyed by royalty and the wealthy. Its delicate flavor and short growing season made it a true culinary treasure.

Louis XIV, the "Sun King," was such a fan, he had special greenhouses built just for growing asparagus year-round. 

Fastest vegetable: Roman Emperor Augustus used the phrase "Faster than cooking asparagus" to describe something done quickly. This speaks to the vegetable's quick cooking time and its reputation for delicate flavor.


You can plant asparagus crowns (bare root plants) or seedlings. Crowns offer faster results, while seedlings are more affordable.

In late fall, apply a thick layer of mulch around the crowns to protect them from harsh winter temperatures.

Choose asparagus varieties known for their ornamental value, such as 'Jersey Knight' or 'Jersey Supreme' which produce mostly male plants with more flowers.


Asparagus isn't a vegetable, it's actually the shoots of a fern! Mind blown, right? This means it's related to plants like lilies and orchids, adding to its unique charm. But that doesn't mean its not a great plant to add to your garden. 


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