Growing Asparagus in Canberra
It’s hard to beat fresh asparagus straight from your garden. Asparagus is delicious, easy to grow, frost hardy and perfectly suited to the Canberra region’s climate.
What do i need?
A sunny place
Good drainage - no wet feet
Well prepared soil - lots of Cow Manure, Compost and Fertiliser - your Asparagus is a hungry plant and will be there for 20 years or more.
Garden Lime or Dolomite.
Good quality asparagus crowns to start with! About 6-10 plants for a family.
How do i grow asparagus?
Prepare the planting bed in advance with lots of Cow Manure, Compost and a complete plant food - we recommend Healthy Earth All Purpose Fertiliser. Aim for a light fluffy soil. It is worthwhile digging in Healthy Earth Clay Breaker. Add Garden Lime or Dolomite, as Asparagus likes a pH of 6.5-7 (neutral) and our soils tend to be a bit acidic.
Plant Asparagus from Winter to early Spring. Make a trench at least 20cms deep by 30cms wide with a rough base, in the improved soil, leaving a ridge in the middle. Spread the bare roots of the asparagus crowns across the ridge, so the top of the crown is about 4cms below the surface. Space crowns 30-40 cms apart.
Backfill over the roots with the improved soil. Water in with Seasol and a Liquid Fertiliser solution to help the crowns settle.
Keep weed free and mulch with Pea Straw, Lucerne or Sugar Cane. Water regularly during the growing season and fertilise monthly with Healthy Earth All Purpose Fertiliser.
After harvesting (see below), Summer is the time for leafy growth to build up the thick roots. In late Autumn, cut down the yellowing ferny shoots for compost and dispose of any berries.
Winter fertilising, manuring and adding a little lime will keep things just right. Lightly dig or hoe in without damaging the crowns.
Harvesting Your Asparagus
Asparagus shoots appear from September. Every 2 or 3 days, cut at ground level when the spears reach 15-20cms high. Choose spears that are 1cm or more thick, the rest can grow on to leaf to help build up the plant. The harvesting season normally lasts 8-10 weeks.
In the first year, let your Asparagus grow and build up. Do not harvest any spears, let the shoots grow strongly into ferny leaf. In the second year, harvest the first spears and leave the rest to grow strongly into leaf, further building up the plant.
The third year and onwards should see you hitting full production!
Green Asparagus (Mary Washington) is the most common, although a purple kind is also available. This is Purple Phantom - sweeter than its green cousin. To harvest white Asparagus, mound the soil up 15-20cms over the crown so the new shoots stay pale. To harvest, carefully use a sharp knife, severing the spear under the soil near the crown.
The female plants produce red berries, which are poisonous to humans. They also germinate freely and can be a nuisance, so it is common to either destroy the berries or remove the female plants completely.
- Healthy Earth Instant Clay Breaker
- Healthy Earth All Purpose Fertiliser
- Cow Manure & Compost
- Pea Straw, Lucerne or Sugar Cane Mulch
- Garden Lime or Dolomite