New to Asparagus

sconnielillMarch 26, 2010

Last summer I planted asparagus in the south facing, sunniest spot in my yard. It sent up nice little ferny stems and leaves so I know they survived life in a plastic bag.

When should I expect to start seeing them re-emerge? Is it too much to hope that there will be some edible spears this year? Is there anything I should do now or when they appear to keep them healthy & happy?

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maplerbirch(4)

What is "life in a plastic bag"? Were they seeds?

If they are fed well and planted deep enough they may send up a couple of good spears.
I'm expecting to see mine, in the next week or two if the forecast is near correct.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 8:28AM
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greenbeans

What I've read about asparagus is that you need to wait a couple years before harvesting.
Year 1: plant;
Year 2: do nothing, just let them grow (though I've read here and there that you can harvest a couple spears);
Year 3: harvest until the spears start coming up pencil diameter.

I think you really benefit by holding off harvesting anything year 2 because the plants grow really big and help the roots establish well. Think of year 2 as a big preparation for a good harvest for year 3. At least that's what I'm hoping - this is my year 3!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 8:33AM
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sconnielill

They were started roots from the bag I think, definitely not seeds. My mom actually planted them while I was at work so I'm not 100% on what they looked like. They sent up some pretty fern growth last summer but nothing that looked like a spear.

greenbeans, thanks. It'll be difficult restraining myself to leave tasty things in the garden. Is it recommended to continue to alternate harvest years?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 12:28AM
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jungseed(z4b & z2b)

Once the plants are established, you can cut every spring. But it is best to wait for the 3rd year for the first harvest.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 2:42PM
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greenbeans

Yep, every year is what I've read, too. Keep harvesting until they're thinner than a pencil, then let the stalks grow into ferns for the rest of that season.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 11:30PM
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jungseed(z4b & z2b)

I see a couple of you say to continue to harvest until something like pencil size and stop. My husband stops on a certain date. If I remember right it was always June 1st. After that he lets it go to seed. I would guess both ways work fine.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:16AM
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sconnielill

Hee, the first little spear popped out yesterday! So relieved to see that at least one survived the winter. (Really not in doubt, but you know, doing something new makes one nervous.)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:46PM
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amylou68

I am so glad to find this post because I have the exact same situation. I planted bare root asparagus last year and am wondering what to do now. I had about half of the plants (6 of 12)come back this spring. I haven't touched them and they are turning into fern-like plants now. I am wondering if the plants will go to seed and create more or if I need to plant more to replace the ones that didn't make it. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 9:46AM
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greenbeans

A recent airing of The Wisconsin Gardener (or whatever that show is called on WI public TV that Shelly Ryan hosts) had some updated recommendations for planting and harvesting asparagus.

1. In spring, plant asparagus crowns at the bottom of 6 inch deep hole.
2. Cover completely with soil.
3. Water and let grow that first season.
4. The second season you can harvest until the spears come up pencil thin. (Will only be a couple weeks worth because the root systems aren't large enough yet.)
5. The following seasons, also harvest until the spears come up pencil thin. Each year you'll have a longer harvest, I think they said, up to 6 or 8 weeks worth. (wow!)

I'm especially thrilled with the recommendation to just fill the hole in immediately. The first time I planted asparagus I did the thing where you plant the crown, cover with a couple inches of soil, wait for the shoots to come up, cover up with more soil, etc. I was not a fan of having these holes in my yard/garden for most of the summer.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 11:32AM
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