Gardens

Monty Don's asparagus growing tips – get planting this weekend

It’s time to plant asparagus – find out how with tips from the TV gardening expert

Monty Don's asparagus growing tips
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If, like us, you’re excited for asparagus season and just can’t get enough of the delicious green spears, why not try growing some yourself? Celebrity gardening expert Monty Don explains how. All you need are some asparagus crowns, some grit or sharp sand and a bit of patience (more on that later).

The time to plant asparagus crowns is now. Get it right and you could be harvesting your own crop of asparagus for the next 20 years. Monty Don explains how to choose the right spot and how to plant and care for asparagus ferns to ensure a good crop for years to come.

See: Kitchen garden ideas – easy ways to get started

Monty Don's asparagus growing tips

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In his guide to planting asparagus crowns  on Gardeners’ World, Monty Don says that growing asparagus ‘is a long-term relationship, so it’s worth doing it properly, and the key to growing asparagus is drainage, and then some more drainage’.

The TV gardening guru explains how to prepare the ground in an open, sunny site to plant bare root asparagus crowns. 

See: How to grow potatoes – a step-by-step guide

Preparing the ground for planting asparagus

Monty Don's asparagus growing tips

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Dig a trench

First dig a 3ft/1m wide trench, before digging over the bottom of the trench and filling it with as much sharp sand or horticultural grit as you can get your hands on. In fact, Monty Don used more than 10 bags of grit for a trench approximately 18ft/6m long. ‘You really can’t have too much drainage’ he explains.

2. Add a layer of compost and grit

Pile in plenty of rich garden compost or well rotted manure, mixing it thoroughly with the grit. Rake the ground smooth, then create two raised ridges. This is where you will plant the asparagus crowns. 

3. Plant asparagus crowns

Monty Don plants one-year-old asparagus crowns, which are essentially a bunch of dry-looking roots with a shoot at the top. He advises soaking the crowns to rehydrate the roots before planting. 

4. Backfill and check back

Drape the roots either side of the ridge to ensure good drainage, before covering the crowns with around 4-6 inches below the soil. Check from time to time that the crowns are still well covered, adding extra compost on top as required.

Growing asparagus – tips on being patient

Here’s where the patience comes in: you won’t be able to harvest your asparagus in the first year, and in the second year just a few cuttings, the third year a few more and by the fourth year the plant will be fully established, and, as Monty Don puts it, you can ‘gorge yourself’!

how to grow asparagus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

See: How to grow garlic – a step by step guide to growing from cloves

Once your asparagus is established you should be able to pick from April or May until the end of June. Stop picking in June to allow the plant to produce its distinctive feathery leaves which help the plant to rejuvenate and store enough energy for a good crop the following spring.

Karen Darlow
Karen Darlow

I'm the homes editor of Period Living magazine and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. I've also moved house quite a few times – totting up 10 homes in 12 years during a particularly nomadic time in my life. I like to think that makes me quite the homes expert, or at least very experienced and with a clear idea of what I like and don't like in a home. 

I love visiting and writing about old houses for Homes & Gardens' sister magazine Period Living and working with photographers to capture all kinds of historic properties. It's inspiring to talk to people about their traditional homes and to hear the stories behind their furnishing and decorating choices. And by the time I've finished an interview with a homeowner I've always got a handful of new ideas to try in my own house, as well as plenty of good stories for the magazine. It's the perfect work-life balance.