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Growing Asparagus

 

Asparagus is an easy crop that can last for decades. Often considered an old-world crop, it is a winner for the veggie gardener.

The only setback is it can take up to four years to become a productive crop. There are a few ways to start your asparagus crop, which depends on your patience.

You can grow asparagus by seed; it is produced on the female asparagus plant and consists of small red berries produced in the autumn. Once you have planted your seed, mark the area with a stake or signage, as it will take two to three years before they are apparent. Many purchase asparagus crowns from their local retail garden centre and save a few years, but even then, patience is a virtue. The crown is part of the root system and the yummy spear sprouts from this. The male plants produce the best edible spears; many remove the female plants unless they are collecting the seeds.

When planting the crowns, preparation is the key, which is done in winter. The soil must be free draining with lots of organic matter dug through. When preparing, dig through 5 in 1 Organic Fertiliser according to the directions on the bag and let the area rest for a week. It is then time to dig a trench with a depth of up to 20cm. Plant the crowns about 40-50cm apart on a mound inside the trench. This spacing is to guarantee that they have adequate drainage. You will see the shoots appear in spring; if you are planting seeds, this is also the time to plant them. Once the crowns are planted, mulch the area and water in using a SeaMax Liquid Organic Fertiliser solution.

Asparagus can also do well in large pots, at least 50cm pots. They can be planted in pots or in the garden in part shade or full sun, all over Australia. There wonโ€™t be any crop for the first few years, but when they start to produce spears that are 1cm wide, they are ready to begin harvesting a crop.

They will start to yellow off at the end of the season and into late autumn. Treat them like ginger or turmeric and cut them level with the ground. In late winter to early spring, they will sprout again, so add a layer of compost and mulch. Regular watering and fertilising with 5 in 1 Pellets will give you a bumper crop.

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