Growing asparagus

Posted: Wednesday 16 May 2012
by Pippa Greenwood

Our latest home-grown spears are all kinked, due to slugs. But I know they’ll taste far, far better than bought asparagus [...]

Asparagus tips

Over the years I’ve grown just about every type of vegetable that I enjoy eating, and that can be grown in the UK. Last year I even managed to grow okra, though I’m the first to admit that it was not in the slightest bit economic, as there was scarcely enough of a crop for a meal for one.

I’ve also grown a good few vegetables that I’d prefer not to eat, such as the Brussels sprouts I grew for Gardeners’ World Magazine (luckily the squirrels ate most of them).

A few years ago I set up my first asparagus bed and I can still recall the nervous, yet excited feeling that I was venturing onto new territory. I love asparagus, but it took me a while to acquire the taste, so I hadn’t tried to grow it before.

In the second year I couldn’t resist cutting a few spears – one for each member of the family. It’s advisable to only start harvesting in the third year, and that year we all enjoyed the asparagus tips for two weeks, then went on holiday at the peak of the cropping time.

Our house sitter forgot to harvest it, and I learned that if you miss out on eating the spears, the young fern is delicious. It may not look as pretty as the spears, but it tastes gorgeous if lightly steamed.

This year the spears emerged early. We divided the first one into four lengthwise, and everyone got a section. Right now we’re able to harvest several spears each, and they’re some of the most succulent purple spears I've ever tasted.

I’ve bought asparagus on two occasions this year; some very pricey asparagus tips from a local farm, and some spears from a farmers’ market. It was nothing like as nice as ours, and both batches were full of grit. I did soak and rinse the spears, but I felt like my teeth were being worn down when I ate them!

Our latest home-grown spears are all kinked, due to slugs. But I know they’ll taste far, far better than bought asparagus, and be grit free, so I don’t care too much about their shape. But yes, I’m off out there with my watering can full of nematodes, to kill off the slugs at the next opportunity.

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oldchippy 17/05/2012 at 12:47

My Dad had asparagus growing in the front garden next to the privet hedge in two clumps,I don't remember them ever eating it,it was grown just as another plant most probably self sown.


AdamColeman 17/05/2012 at 13:11


I took over an allotment plot in October last year (2011) and have been busy clearing it bit by bit and planting my own veggies. Recently I noticed to my delight that I have 2 patches where asparagus has sprouted. The problem I have is that they are in completely the wrong place. They are growing up through the corner of an old fruit cage left behind by the previous tenant and are right at the edge of the plot almost on the path and boundary with the adjacent plots. I have managed to harvest about 24 good sized spears from the 2 patches and they have tasted amazing compared to the shop bought stuff I'm used to. So my question is can asparagus be moved or will moving them kill them? I don't what variety they are or how long they have been there for.

figrat 17/05/2012 at 13:23

I'm sorry to say that I don't think asparagus moves very well.

Emma Crawforth 17/05/2012 at 15:02

Hello AdamColeman,

I recently inherited a veg plot with asparagus in the wrong place too. In my case it's too near the middle of the plot, so that when it grows up high, it obscures the plants beyond it from view. I was considering starting a new bed in a different position. As Pippa says, it takes a while to establish, but maybe you could continue to harvest from your old plants for the first years?

Enjoy it!

Emma team

C15.52 24/05/2012 at 20:41

is asparagus a root vetatable

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