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July - September
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ASPARAGUS GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Asparagus officinalis
Liliaceae, the lily family
Asparagus is a herbaceous perennial, with both male and female plants. Asparagus plants are ferny and grow to 1.5 m.
Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. Thorough preparation of the soil is needed as asparagus crowns are
long-lived. Dig deeply, or if possible double dig the trenches and incorporate generous amounts of compost and
well-rotted manure into the soil. In heavy clay soils deep digging should be avoided as it will make drainage
worse, in this case beds should be mounded and gypsum applied. The pH of the soil should be 6.5 - 7.0, lime if
necessary. If more plants are required the crowns can be divided when 3 years old. This is done during winter
dormancy. Asparagus is usually considered a temperate plant but it is easy to grow in a subtropical climate as
it thrives on the rain and has no problems with pests or diseases. In fact, in old, abandoned gardens, asparagus
can be seen growing years later amongst tall grass and weeds.
Asparagus is a delicacy and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Plant in winter or early spring, while the crowns are still dormant. Plant in furrows about 20 cm deep and 30 cm
wide. Place the crowns onto a small mound in the centre of the furrow, so that the roots point down at about 45°,
spread the roots out carefully. Backfill with compost to a depth of 7.5 cm. Space the plants 45 cm apart, with 1.2 m
between rows. Fill in the trench gradually as growth progresses.
After the first frost in winter or when the foliage browns off, cut off the old tops about 7.5 cm from the soil
surface. Try to keep the berries from falling on the ground, as they will germinate and choke the bed. Apply a
generous dressing of compost and well-rotted manure to feed the bed for its spring flush of growth. Then top with
a thick hay mulch.
Care should be taken to harvest very lightly the first year after planting, to allow the crowns to build strength.
In subsequent years in cool areas stop cutting spears in late spring; in subtropical areas it is usually possible
to harvest a second time during the wet season. Cut the spears carefully to avoid injuring the crown. We harvest
by a rule-of-thumb, if the spears are thicker than a pencil we cut them before the spears branch, usually at
approximately 20 cm high, if they are skinnier, we leave them to develop and feed the crown.
Purple asparagus available as seed...
Not to NORFOLK ISLAND, TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of Norfolk Island
. These restrictions are very important as they prevent
the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tube stock
can be sent to South Australia
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