Our Asparagus have been in for around 7 – 8 years now.
Despite being relocated once, they’ve gone on to provide us with a prolific supply of Asparagus for the past 3-4 seasons and have most definitely been one of our most successful crops.
Apart from keeping the garden bed well weeded and providing a regular dose of fertiliser, our Asparagus are a pretty easy care lot.
We let the ferns grow at the end of the season and go completely wild. The ferns that grow from your end of season Asparagus will feed the plants as they sprout, grow and then die off. If you can manage to resist the urge to tame their scruffy looks over the Winter, they’re best left to go crazy and then do their thing.
At the end of Winter they should easily pull away and be simple to clear, before the crowns get ready to start throwing out new spears in the Spring.
It was while doing this end of Winter clear up that I noticed that a few of our crowns had gotten quite large and were starting to encroach on each others space. Although we were already seeing very early Spring shoots, I knew I still had time to split them up before they really took off.
I have another area that I want to add more Asparagus crowns to so, with the current crowded living conditions, I decided it was a good time to split some of my old timers up and give them some space, as well as creating new crowns to extend our crop.
Splitting Asparagus can seem a bit daunting. While the crowns can become quite dense, they also send their roots out far and wide and knowing where to dig to avoid damage is the key to a successful transplant or separation.
You don’t want to end up chopping into too many of the roots, so you need to dig slowly and carefully around the circumference of the plant, at least twice the width of the crown away from the centre of the plant.
When you’ve dug fully around the plant, carefully start digging under the plant, leveraging the crown up side by side as you go.
Once you have your crown out lay it on the ground and, using a direct spray setting on your hose, hose away as much of the dirt as you can. This will make it easier to detangle the roots from each other, as well as more easily see where the crown will naturally split into new plants.
With the crown cleaned off, hold the crown with the top facing you again and you can see, in the picture below, the peaks in the crown where it will, with some gentle encouragement, split away new crowns.
Starting from the outside, gently ease your fingers in between these peaks and prise away a section of the crown. It should come away without too much force, and with just a wee bit of detangling of the roots.
With all your new crowns split away, you can now replant them.
Dig a hole that allows you to fully spread all the roots of the new crown out around it. The peak of the crown should be pointing up and above the soil level.
Fill in the hole, making sure all the roots and the base of the crown are covered.
You should follow the same general rule of thumb of with these new plantings, as you would with purchased crowns, avoiding any harvest from the plant for the first few seasons, and then only harvesting a small amount in the following two seasons. After that, with a good 4-5 years of growth and nurturing, you’re all good to go with taking a full harvest from your crowns.
For more information about growing Asparagus, see our full guide here.