Author Topic: First year asparagus harvest  (Read 11547 times)

Offline aakelley

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First year asparagus harvest
« on: April 21, 2011, 06:57:15 PM »
We planted some 1 year crowns 2 years ago and waited patiently until this year to take our first spears. Man, was it worth it. Definitely something that tastes a million times better than what you get at the store.

My question is how long should we harvest spears?  I've heard everywhere from 3 weeks to 8 weeks. Also, what should we do to care for the plants once we are done?  I was thinking a nice layer to top dress compost. Should we cut everything to ground level?

Offline fire65

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2011, 07:20:42 AM »
Harvest them for 3 or 4 weeks.  Let the plants grow, they will get big and make seeds, this will help spread the asparagus.  When they die in the winter you then cut them to ground level and mulch the garden.

Offline cohutt

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2011, 02:33:50 PM »
Until the spears coming up are as thin as pencils- that's your sign that you've siphoned enough energy from the crowns and it is time to let them rejuvenate til next year.

Offline sdcharger

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2011, 01:34:38 AM »
Congrats on the nice crop.  I'm jealous!

Offline Darkwinter

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2011, 06:49:05 PM »
I have some two year plants and they are just shooting our of the ground now.  I can't wait!!

Offline Tentance

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2011, 07:02:58 PM »
Where do you live? (ie how harsh are your winters/summers?)  when did you plant them? From seeds?


-tentance

Offline Darkwinter

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2011, 07:09:12 PM »
Zone 5 - I planted five crowns.  They broke ground about 5-8 days ago.  There is one spear about the size of your pinkie, the rest are still fairly thin.  I bought them from lowes at the end of season on clearance.  4 of the 5 grew, and they were a dollar a pc.


Offline MD3C

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2011, 06:14:24 PM »
Really neat. Only one of my two plants has made the winter. It has a few spears already, all pencil thin. I was told to not pick them. To let them go this season. Just hoping for a better crop next year.
I would enjoy pix of your  asparagus.
M

Offline cohutt

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2011, 07:39:45 PM »
my 2nd year bed yesterday


Offline Darkwinter

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2011, 07:56:04 PM »
Cohutt is a showoff!!! :)

But seriously that is an AWESOME bed Hut!!

I will try to get some pics up tomorrow.  They are not anywhere near as impressive.

Offline NWBowhunter

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2011, 08:01:28 PM »
2-3 cuttings max on second year. Is what I was taught. great looking bed Cohutt.

Offline cohutt

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2011, 08:06:33 PM »
I didn't cut any this year even though I could cut a little. I figured why not put it off and get my bed every advantage on the way to becoming established.  Look out next year though- we'll be cutting a lot from these 40 crowns

:)

I had one that looked like Shrek when it sprouted




Offline Nicodemus

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2011, 09:30:29 PM »
I'm such a gardening illiterate. I had no idea that Asparagus grew that tall.  :D

Offline cohutt

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2011, 04:14:12 AM »
I'm such a gardening illiterate. I had no idea that Asparagus grew that tall.  :D

If you don't cut it and eat it when the new spears are a few inches they just keep growing until they are a few feet tall. 

Offline mash

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2011, 04:37:15 AM »
Youse guys are making me jealous. I planted the old fashioned kind and I'm supposed to wait another year til I can harvest.

Offline cohutt

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2011, 04:19:56 PM »
Youse guys are making me jealous. I planted the old fashioned kind and I'm supposed to wait another year til I can harvest.

There is only one kind- the takes 3 years to get really established kind.  Next year is my first harvest year

Offline mash

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2011, 09:44:00 PM »
There is only one kind- the takes 3 years to get really established kind.  Next year is my first harvest year

OK I feel better. I got to thinking there was some new fancy variety that can be harvested quicker.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2011, 10:04:11 PM »
Do the Asparagus plants throw off shoots as they get older so that it's a vegetable that can be perennially harvested?

Offline cohutt

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2011, 04:25:08 AM »
Basically you purchase "crowns", which are these odd spidery looking root masses





The pictures above were from when I planted mine last spring- I laid out 3 long (16') rows and then covered with another few inches of compost-rich soil mix.

From these you get the shoots which are harvested when they are a few inches tall and yet to start branching out like a couple of the ones shown in the picture up the  page with the nalgene bottle. More:



The delay of a couple of years comes while you are allowing the crown to become established.  You allow it to conserve energy by not cutting off shoots ("spears"), therefore it doesn't have to send up more than a couple to harvest energy from the sun all summer. When you cut a spears off it forces the crown to send up more; if the plants aren't establishes this will tap it out and the crowns won't survive.
Once established (3rd year) the plants are healthy and established so you can cut spears for several weeks in the spring before you have to stop and let them grow out for the season and absorb energy from the sun for the next year.   This is the cycle each year thereafter.  Beds can produce for 20 or more years if you take care of them- each year is the same after year 3:  cut spears until they start looking skinny, then let them grow out for the summer.

On a side note, asparagus is sexed male or female.  The female plants produce the little red seed berries late in the summer. /)

I purposely purchased plants (Jersey knight maybe?) that were sorted to be 98% male plants.  Why?  A bed full of plants that drop 100s of seeds each can get out of hand in a few years as it becomes so crowded that all the plants suffer.  Since my bed is confined (ie the raised wooden bed) I didn't want to fight the battle of thinning my plants down the road. 

As it turns out I have one berry / seed producing female plant, which is fine.  I can manage this OK and will actually try and fill in a couple of spots where the crowns I planted didn't make it the first year.  The red of the berries I just stripped off and disposed of last year so that they don't fall into the bed.


« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 04:35:45 AM by cohutt »

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2011, 08:31:53 AM »
Thanks for the excellent explanation, cohutt! I appreciate it!

+1

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2011, 04:00:49 PM »
Great info, of course.

Question, my spears have just started popping out of the ground.  I just planted the crowns this year.  I planted them in a trench about 8" deep.  Now that they are coming up, how much should I cover up with soil now?  I know I should keep going until it is filled up, but how much at a time should I cover?

Offline orrville

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2011, 07:53:45 PM »
Hi People you can also divide the crowns  to increase your patch. What I do is plant about six inches deep the first year, even better if they are in a raised bed so they are easy to dig up, Then in the second year spring gently dig them up and see where the sprouts are using your thumbs wiggle and pry them apart. You can at least double the number of plants if not triple them. It is a little scary at first but it works. I divided six crown this year and shared twenty plants with my friends. Have fun getting dirty!

Offline cohutt

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2011, 08:14:49 PM »
That's interesting -it makes sense  but I never considered it.

Offline mxitman

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2011, 11:56:48 AM »
so jealous...i planted 12 crowns last year and none made it...i think i picked a too shady spot.

Offline cohutt

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2011, 12:03:28 PM »
I ended up adjusting my "paracord retention system" the other day to allow the plants to lean/flop over towards the west more; they got so tall they were shading the potatoes coming up to the right of them.

Offline Herbalpagan

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2011, 04:39:09 AM »
This is my first year being able to pick a crop from my bad...they are poking through and I can't wait!!!

Offline orrville

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2011, 03:18:25 PM »
  Another thing I do is to dig up all the bird planted asparagus and trans plant them to a nursery bed (raised) so their easy to transplant to a permanent bed or share with friends, you could even sell them.

Offline average_joe

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Re: First year asparagus harvest
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2011, 06:26:13 PM »
I planted 8 Jersey Kings 8 Mary Washington's. So far 13 are coming up.