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Asparagus Growing Questions Answered Here......

We get asked lots of questions about growing asparagus, some are easily answered and some come up on a regular basis. We share the most frequently asked questions with you here and when we need someone with a more in depth knowledge we have Jamie Petchell on hand to answer the most tricky questions.

We have broken your questions into different categories as follows:

Asparagus growing questions on this page:

  1. Diseases & Unhappy Plants
  2. Questions about Asparagus in special climates
  3. Chooing Varieties for specific locations
  4. General Asparagus Care
  5. All other Questions

If you want to ask your own question scroll down or follow this link

Our Resident Expert:
Jamie Petchell

Jamie Petchell, also known as @Asparagusman on Twitter is truly passionate about all things asparagus.  he has been working on the crop since the early 2000s and has developed a portfolio of knowledge in order the help asparagus growers around the world.

He says

"I set up what were considered to be the largest asparagus variety trials in the world. In the end we looked at nearly 300 asparagus hybrids from 17 breeders across 9 countries.  This provided me with a depth of understanding of varietal adaptation and aids me greatly when advising asparagus producers on which cultivar to use."

1. Diseases & Unhappy Plants

You'll find a common theme here, sending us a picture will really help with diagnosis:

a)      Hi! Stumbled upon your site researching diseases. My 2nd year crop has some dwarfed sprouts. Never seen this before. I alsohave white flakes on the ground;don't appear to be larvae and no bugs. Just trimmed back several stalks that had already cycled (mild winter, warm spring) but lots still growing strong. Any ideas?i think I might be over-watering.

Jamie Answers : Dwarfed sprouts - can you send pictures? Stressed plants can easily abort spears but need to see something before commenting more really.

b)       I cut my first asparagus spears last week they were good. Today I went out to cut my spears and found them drooped over and soggy. Can you tell me what is wrong and what I can do about it? Thanks for any help you can give me. 

Jamie Answers : Could well be frost or some type of fungal disease. Pictures would help.

c)       My asparagus is breaking off from about 12" to about 18" high.  I have cottontails but it appears too high for them.  Is there some kind of cut worm or something that would cut the stems off.  This is the first time I have had this problem.

Jamie Answers: Pictures would be good to see the type of wound created.    

Read more about Asparagus Diseases on this page

2. Special Climates

Hot / Tropical

a)   Hi, I live in the Whitsundays QLD and would like to know which variety would be best suited to our tropical climate? Thanks, Charlie

Jamie Answers: Early California would be the best variety. It has no requirement for dormancy through winter chilling.


b)       Hello there I have a question for you my sapergus first year crowing my plant but i do know how do you keep winter time because i living mongolia u know mongoila was very cold winter time can a help me please

Jamie answers : Mongolia - we need to know which variety is being grown to determine what to do in the winter. (we are following this up!)

 c)    Hiya!  ok, i live in wisconsin, in the thumb, door county;  i grew some asparagus from seed and it actually came up and made cute, tiny fronds of asparagus;  we may have another severe winter and so i brought in the baby plants with their surrounding soil to overwinter indoors;  this caused skinny stalks of asparagus to form;  that's what i have now;  any advice on what to do with them?  harvest them and hope the whole thing goes dormant until next spring?  they are adorable and i love them and hope I can keep them alive 'til spring;  merci, 

Jamie Answers: Frost - depends on variety but hardy types can tolerate -20/30C depending on snow covering. They should be fine if they are dormant which they are likely to be. Young plants grown from seed in the first year will be more susceptible simply because they are smaller, with fewer roots / buds and less of a buffer against the cold, but provided they establish / grow well over the spring / summer, I do not foresee any particular issues.

3. Choosing Varieties for Specific Locations

a)   Could you recommend an appropriate mix of early and later asparagus varieties (F1 or traditional) to give a longer cropping period in coastal East Lothian - 25 miles east of Edinburgh?

Jamie Answers : Mondeo for early and Guelph Millennium for late. They will dovetail in the middle for a longer season of cutting.

b)  Where in Ontario can I obtain crowns?

Jamie Answers: There should be mail order companies but I not aware of them myself. Look for the variety Guelph Millennium which was bred in Ontario.

c)    We are in the process of making a raised vegetable garden which will include an asparagus bed. The raised bed will have a layer of topsoil to make up for the heavy clay soil underneath. We would like a variety of asparagus plants, ideally to spread the crop over a longer period. Any advice on good combinations? It seems that Gijnlim and Backlim may be a good basis. If we were to select one or at most two other varieties, would you have any recommendations? Would you consider a purple variety (our parents only ever had the green variety, so a bit of an unknown)?

Raised beds can be a solutiont to clay soils but be aware that the roots can go down by up to a meter so you may need to dig our some fo the clay as well and we know that is hard work. We've asked Jamie which varieties might work best in this situuation. He replied

"Gijnlim and Backlim will both work just fine. I'd prefer to go with Mondeo and Guelph Millennium. The former is a little earlier to start than Gijnlim and the latter is definitely a better green asparagus variety than Backlim."

Read About Asparagus Varieties on this page

4. General Asparagus Care

a)   I planted asparagus from roots, this the second year and the plants have on them some red pea size seeds on them what are they for do I leave them on?

The red berries are seeds which means they are female plants (if you look carefully maybe they are only on some of the plants?) You don’t want these seeds to set and grow into more plants that crowd out/weaken the plants you already have so keep an eye out for them and cut them off.

b)    Can you please tell me if I have to sprinkle salt over the asparagus bed... an old time farmer told me this must be done.

You don’t HAVE to so this but salt is a good weed suppressant which does not affect asparagus so long as it is used in moderation.

c)    Would I be better off cutting back my female plants to encourage male plant growth? 

You don't need to cut the female plants back, however you do need to pick the berries they produce to stop your existing crowns being overcrowded by seedlings. The females probably won't produce quite as many spears as the males but they will be just as tasty.

Read more about General Asparagus Care on this page.

5. All Other Asparagus Growing Questions

a)     Hi there, I am in a cooking competition in late August and I’m trying to source NZ grown asparagus for that time. Is there any asparagus available at this time of the year?  Regards Ruth

You would have to be hoping for an early spring as the season really gets going in September. You might get lucky if you can find the right supplier and you get a warm start to the season.

b)      My beds have sunk about 18"  my asparagus is 3year old. Can I just add 18 of soil on top in winter

Jamie Answers : Yes you can add soil but best to do this gradually over 2-3 years.

c)     I found your site to be very informative and well written. I now know more than I ever did about asparagus.  But I have a somewhat unique question.  I am considering growing asparagus in a controlled environment vertical garden. My question is: Can I get a longer harvest period or how many harvests could I produce a year in a constant environment? Also, are you aware of any growers that are growing asparagus in greenhouses or hydroponics/aquaponics?

Jamie answers: Yes this is happening (production in containers etc), however...... Asparagus crowns have a finite number of buds that develop into spears and then later ferns. If you harvest too may spears, you will not get the subsequent fern growth which provides the energy for the crop e following year. As a result the longest harvest period for a fully established plant is normally 80-90 days before you have to let them grow to fern.

d)     Hi,  Absolutely no where can I find information as to what to do with asparagus spears after we have had our fill for the year.  Do we continue to cut (and give away/freeze) or just let the spear grow into mature bushes??  Thanks

What a fantastic problem to have. We would recommend freezing, pickling or giving away to friends. It seems a shame just to let them go to fern. There are lots of different ways to eat asparagus.

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Questions other Visitors have asked

Click below to see questions from other visitors to this page...

Unanswered Asparagus Questions 
Is it possible to get a second crop of asparagus ? if so, how please.

Transplanting Asparagus Questions 
My asparagus bed is in my allotment which has trees on either side and only gets sun(if it is ever shining here in north east Scotland!)for about4-5 hours …

Asparagus Fern Gone to Seed 
I live in Minnesota, it is June 26 and my asparagus has gone to seed or into 5 to 6 foot ferns. What do I do next with the ferns. Do I need to cut them …

Readers Questions about Planting Asparagus 
I want to plant some puple passion crowns with my other green variety. The Purple Passion self pollinates. Would it be wiser to find a different location …

Readers Questions about Harvesting Asparagus 
I planted two raised beds last year, mostly three year. I had great growth. Last weekend a single spear, from a single plant poked up through the surface. …

Readers Asparagus Growing Questions Answered 
I have a 4 yr old asparagus bed and I would like to propagate them please how do I do that and if I can, when is best time to do it. I live in union …

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