Planting Asparagus

Asparagus is one of my favorite garden plants. It is the first vegetable to harvest in the spring, it’s perennial, and it tastes great. What more could you ask for?

Most people establish an asparagus patch with bare-root asparagus plants. It is best to plant in early spring as soon as the soil is warm enough to work. I would not harvest any asparagus spears the first season. Just let it grow, and cut it back in the late fall when the ferns go brown. You should be able to harvest the following spring. The herbs caraway and basil make nice companions. I will be seeding in caraway amongst the patch in mid-April and basil after the fear of frost has past. (Video at the bottom of the article)

Asparagus Spears

Setting up an Asparagus Patch

1. Dig a trench 8 inches deep and 1 foot wide. Dig your trench long enough that you can space your asparagus roots 1 foot apart.

8 inch deep trench, 1 foot wide

2. Make mounds of soil to rest the crown of the asparagus plant on, and spread the roots out gently on the mound.

Asparagus roots spread out over mounds

3. Water your asparagus roots.

4. Backfill with the existing soil. The crown or growing point of the asparagus plant should be 1 inch under the soil.

5. Add 1-2 inches of mulch to suppress weeds. Make sure any existing weeds are removed. Weeds can ruin an asparagus patch as the roots can get tangled.

6. Give the patch another good watering.

Mulched, watered...done

Video: How to Plant Asparagus

Additional Resources

Heeling In: Description of "heeling in" your bare root plants for the proper planting time:

Ordering Asparagus Crowns Online


~ Phil Williams

Phil Williams is a permaculture consultant and designer and creator of the website  His website provides useful, timely information for the experienced or beginning gardener, landscaper, or permaculturalist. Phil's personal goals are to build soil, restore and regenerate degraded landscapes, grow and raise an abundance of healthy food of great variety, design and install resilient permaculture gardens in the most efficient manner possible, and teach others along the way.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I planted a couple of rows of asparagus about 5 years ago, loving the idea of a perennial vegetable that produces in the spring, and its been one of my better gardening successes.  And there is NOTHING as yummy as homegrown asparagus sauteed in a little butter with chopped garlic!
Here is one tip I've picked up growing asparagus: once your asparagus starts coming up, it comes up FAST!  As in, you need to keep a really good eye on it in the spring,  because it grows so rapidly (it literally seems like inches a day, but maybe that's my imagination).  E.g., last spring I checked the beds, and the asparagus wasn't poking up yet, and the next time I checked -maybe a week or so later?- much of the first growth was already too tall.  -Asparagus gets tougher and more fiberous when it gets too tall.  So you really need to check it every day or two in the spring, to make sure you don't miss catching those first harvests.  I also love how you get multiple harvests from the asparagus bed.  A very "feel-good" addition to the garden!

I've also found my asparagus bed to be pretty reliable and low-maintenance, once the bed is established.  I've experienced all kinds of different problems with many other veggies (tomato and potato blight, snails, poor germination/production for certain items), but my asparagus just seems to come up every spring and produce like clockwork.

I didn't listen to the video clip above, so it may have addressed this, but the info I read when I established my asparagus bed said that it takes 3 years for the bed to become productive.  That seemed to hold true for me; I think I got my first good harvest the 3rd year after planting.  So if you want to grow asparagus, the sooner you establish the bed, the better, since you may be waiting a couple of years for it to produce.  (And I am open to other's comments/experience in that regard!).

I also love it when I go by the expensive bunches of asparagus for sale at the local grocery store, and know I can go out in my back yard and pick my own for free!

I agree, with your sentiment on asparagus. So easy, so productive, and fresh produce early in the season. It surprises me that most gardens don't have an asparagus patch.

I have heard various advice on how many years to wait to pick your asparagus. I personally ordered two year old roots, and after planting them in the early spring and letting them grow for a season, I was able to harvest very nice sized spears one year later, with no problems. The wait time I think depends on how mature the roots are that you start with.



Aah, I didn't realize that the age of the asparagus roots you plant affects how long the bed takes to be productive, but that makes perfect sense Phil!Hmmm, I've been wanting to expand my bed because we enjoy the results so much; maybe I'll look around and see if I can find a source of 2 year-old roots to start with this spring.  Thanks for the tip!