Asparagus is one of the first crops for us each year. It has a very short cropping season of about 6 weeks and does not store well, so it is something we really look forward to and enjoy for the short time it is available to us. If your asparagus patch is a large one and it is a good cropping year, it is a prime candidate for a classic food glut as it will all come at once. There is little you can do to spread out the copping season. If it looks like you are in for a bountiful harvest the only thing to do is cut the spears younger. You will need to be inventive so you enjoy it as much in it's the last meal as you did for the first.
Asparagus has an extensive root system which spreads out from the crown. The crown sends up shoots in early spring, April and May, which can be cut and eaten until late May. After cropping is over the uncut shoots develop to a bushy fern, approximately 1m tall, which produces red berries in the autumn and supplies the nutrients the plant requires to produce a good crop the following year. The plants remain insitu and can produce 20 to 25 edible shoots per year for up to 20 years. So, if you are planning to grow your own, consider well where you plant them as once in place they will be there for a long time.
Timings for the best crop
- March to April, plant the hearts then wait 2 years for the plants to establish themselves before you start to crop.
- Late April you will start to see new shoots appear
- Late April to end May harvest your crop
- End May leave any new shoots to develop into lush ferns - these may need support as they grow taller
- September to October cut the ferns when they start to turn yellow.
Time to love asparagus!