How do you plant asparagus for the first time?
Dig a trench about 20cm deep and 20–30cm wide.
Set the asparagus crowns about 30–50cm apart, placing each on a small mound of soil to support roots.
Cover crowns with about 5cm soil. Firm soil around crowns and water them well. As the fern grows, keep adding more soil until bed is level with surrounding garden.
Water regularly and feed periodically through summer with a high-nitrogen fertiliser to encourage plenty of ferny top growth. In winter, cut down dry yellow fern to just above ground level. Fertilise again in late winter to encourage spear growth in spring. Don’t cut any spears in first spring after planting. Harvests can increase each following year as plants grow older.
What types of asparagus are there in Australia?
- The most common variety of green asparagus grown in Australia is ‘Mary Washington’, which is available as crowns via mail order. It grows well in subtropical regions, temperate zones and cool climates.
- Purple asparagus has become popular in recent years, with ‘Sweet Purple’ a deliciously sweet cultivar with a subtle nutty flavour. The spears are tender and are a great introduction for children to this delicious vegetable.
- White asparagus is simply green asparagus grown in total darkness. In the absence of light, the spears don’t develop chlorophyll, remaining white and tender. White asparagus is delicate, and should be handled with care.
- Visit your local nursery or jump online to order your asparagus crowns now.
Can asparagus be grown in pots?
Easy to grow, asparagus crowns produce around 20 spears per year (once mature), remaining in situ for 15 years or more. With long root systems, they can’t be grown in pots, and don’t transplant well, requiring a permanent spot in the garden. The good news is, once established, they will reliably produce delicious spears every spring, with little or no maintenance
What are the benefits of eating asparagus?
- Asparagus is low in kilojoules, without fat or cholesterol, while providing fibre and inulin (a very important prebiotic).
- Asparagus provides the essential B group vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and biotin.
- Asparagus is a great source of folate, with a serve giving you over 20% of your daily needs. Folate is important for expectant mothers and for reducing heart disease risk.
- A serve of asparagus provides about a quarter of our daily needs of vitamin C.
- Asparagus has a brilliant range of bio-active compounds, such as antioxidants like rutin and beta-carotene. The research strongly suggests that the bioactive compounds in asparagus are keeping us healthy, well into old age.
- Asparagus has potassium and the compound nicotianamine to help keep your blood pressure healthy.
Should fresh asparagus be refrigerated?
Want to make make your asparagus go the distance? Once picked, keep them fresher for longer by storing them similar to freshly cut flowers. Stand the spears upright in a container with about 5cm of cold water, cover and place in the fridge loosely covered with plastic. It can be kept up to a week.
How do you harvest asparagus in Australia?
season, cutting them off just below the soil surface. Avoid harvesting the first season as this puts the young crown under too much stress. After the first spring, production will steadily increase, eventually providing a healthy harvest. Growers recommend 10 plants per person, so oversow asparagus with leafy greens and other shallow-rooted annuals to maximise garden production, while still maintaining an adequate yield.