Growing Asparagus in Queensland
This delicious perennial vegetable is an asset to any vegetable garden. The plants take a few years to start producing, but once your asparagus plants are established, they can produce for 2-3 decades.
Don’t be tempted to start harvesting from your plants too early. Follow the harvesting instructions carefully to help your asparagus grow into strong plants that can produce abundantly.
Asparagus likes full sun, but will appreciate some shade over the hottest part of the afternoon.
Asparagus plants live for a very long time (around 15-30 years), so it’s worth taking the time to prepare their bed well. They like rich, well-draining soil. Work plenty of compost and well-rotted manure as well as lime into the soil. Dig a trench approximately 15-20 cm deep.
Seeds can be started in spring.
Soak the seeds for 2 hours before planting.
Asparagus can be started from seed. Sow the seeds into seed beds until the third year and then dig up the crowns, separate them and plant as you would for crowns.
Crowns should be planted while they’re dormant in winter.
Soak the crowns in water for at least an hour before you plant them. Place the crowns gently into the trench with their roots fanned out and cover lightly. Once the shoots appear, keep adding layers of soil until your trench is level with the ground and then apply a good layer of mulch. When you’re done covering the trench in, the crowns should be 15cm-20cm below the surface.
The fern-like plants will die back in winter. Once they are dead, cut them back to make way for the new growth that will burst through in spring. You can use the dead ferns as a mulch on your asparagus bed or add them to your compost heap.
Keep them well watered while they are active, especially if you live in an area of Queensland which experiences dry patches during the heat of summer. In the wetter, more humid areas of Queensland there should be less risk of them drying out quickly.
Asparagus grows in the same spot for many years, so it needs to be fed well to produce well. The crowns are dormant in the winter, so add a good thick layer of compost or well-rotted manure to the bed during that time. This will also act as a mulch to protect them from the worst cold of winter.
Asparagus appreciates a thick layer of mulch. Sugarcane or lucerne are good options.
Spears will start to appear in spring. Use a sharp knife to cut them off as low as possible.
Assuming you've planted crowns:
- In the first year after planting crowns: Harvest only very lightly or not at all.
- In the second year: Harvest for 2 weeks.
- In the fourth year: Harvest for 4 weeks.
- From the sixth year, you can harvest for up to 6 weeks.
If you’ve grown your asparagus from seeds, you can start harvesting for 2 weeks after 3 years.