CO-Horts Blog

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Growing Asparagus in the Home Garden

 Written by: Ruth Sens, Weld County Master Gardener

Delicious, fresh asparagus (photo from

The best time to plant asparagus was three years ago, the second best time is now. If you love fresh asparagus and want to try growing it in your home garden, the time is now to get started.

While it can be grown from seed, Asparagus is easiest started from bareroot crowns or crowns already growing in pots. You can buy bareroot crowns at your local garden center now. Choose bareroot crowns that have 8-10 large roots and a one or two healthy looking bud clusters.  Already potted crowns become available later in the growing season. Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight, Purple Passion, Millennium and the Washington series are varieties recommended for our area.

Bareroot asparagus crowns (photo from

Asparagus can produce for 10-15 years so selecting the right place for the bed is important. Choose a sunny (8 hours/day minimum) spot in your garden with well-drained soil where the plants will be able to grow undisturbed. Before planting, soak the crowns in warm water for 2-4 hours. Thoroughly work in four inches of well-composted organic material to a depth of twelve inches before planting. This extra effort will pay off in larger yields.

Now dig a trench that is 6 inches deep and place the asparagus crowns 12-18 inches apart in the trench by carefully spreading the roots out with the bud cluster facing up. Carefully backfill the trench so the asparagus crowns are covered over with just 1-2 inches of soil at this point. When the crowns start growing, slowly cover the shoots with 1-2 inches soil each week until the trench is filled back up and level with the rest of the garden.

Do not harvest any spears for at least the first two years to allow the crowns and roots to develop fully. Some sources suggest waiting three years. At two or three years, you can harvest asparagus spears for 4-6 weeks in early May to mid-June.

Asparagus emerging in spring (photo from

Only harvest spears that are larger than a pencil. Do not over-harvest. Break off the spears or carefully cut with a knife below the soil level being careful to not cut other spears coming up. Then let the ferns grow until fall and stand through winter. Trim back in spring before new spears start appearing.

During the first two years, water 1-2 inches per week. Asparagus is a heavy feeder and benefits from fertilizer (10-16-8) in spring as the growth starts and again mid-summer after the harvest. Mulching around the plants with 2-3 inches of organic material will keep the soil moist, stop weed growth, and protect the plants in winter.  For more information and tips for asparagus planting, visit the CSU Extension Grow & Give website. Want to watch a video on planting? Check it out here.

Now the waiting begins but it will be worth it!