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A Step-by-step Guide on How to Grow Asparagus

Asparagus is a perennial plant (it comes back year after year) that grows well in cool climates. Growing asparagus year after year requires little effort once your asparagus bed becomes established in the right area. Asparagus can be grown from seed, crowns or dividing (propagating) older plants.

Asparagus spears growing in a garden by someone growing asparagus in Calgary Alberta in her zone 3 garden.

This spring will be my 3rd year growing asparagus in Alberta in my backyard raised bed garden. I am anxiously anticipating being able to harvest it for the first time. I am growing asparagus both from seed and from crowns. I tried a few crowns in the ground and a few in a raised bed. Both seem to be doing very well.

Asparagus Growing Time

Asparagus crowns are 2 year old asparagus plants that have begun to established a root system. Growing asparagus in your garden is a lesson in patience as you don't harvest asparagus until the 2rd year if you are planting crowns, or the 4th year if you are growing it from seed.

Asparagus Growing Requirements

Most asparagus is hardy in gardening zones 3 to 8.

Do not take the decision of where to plant your asparagus lightly. Although it takes a while to get established, an asparagus plant will keep on producing for up to 20 years. It is best not to move it during that time so take care when deciding where to establish your asparagus patch.

It is ideal to prepare the soil in the fall if you plan to plant asparagus crowns so that they can be planted outdoors in the spring as soon as the soil is workable down to a depth of 18 inches. For me in zone 3 Calgary Alberta the ideal time to plant asparagus crowns would be the end of April.

Asparagus grows best in loose, well drained soil free of other roots, rocks, and weeds. Select a location that receives at least 8 hours of sunlight. Asparagus prefers a soil pH between 6.5 and 7.0 Add compost deep down into your soil prior to planting your asparagus.

Asparagus is most often grown in an in-ground garden but can also be grown in a raised bed (as long as it is a raised bed that is connected to the ground). When growing asparagus in a raised bed it especially important to mulch it in the fall with about a 4 inch layer of straw or leaves. The mulch will help protect it from the winter elements.

Growing Asparagus From Crowns

Most people choose to grow their asparagus from crowns as this gives a year head start towards harvesting. Asparagus crowns can be ordered online or bought from most garden centers.

If you purchase asparagus crowns early in the spring before the ground has fully thawed, plant them in a pot with soil as soon as you bring them home. Keep them in a cool place like a garage until you are able to plant them outdoors.

How to Plant Asparagus Crowns