Harvesting Asparagus Tips
Asparagus is a fairly hardy perennial that can produce for 20 years with proper care. Here are a few harvesting asparagus tips for keeping your plants healthy and productive.
When do I harvest?
This kind of depends on whether you planted your asparagus from seed or bought 1 year old crowns. Certainly the seeded asparagus will need more time until you reap the benefit of your own asparagus patch. Many experts recommend waiting until the third season to start harvesting. With planted crowns, it may be OK to lightly harvest in the second season.
You will be harvesting in the spring with the new growth. Fully mature asparagus patches can be picked for up to eight weeks. After that the plant needs to grow and replenish itself for the next season. We are in Minnesota and use the 4th of July as a cutoff for our asparagus picking. This is an easy date to remember and is about the right time period too.
The asparagus plant grows into a large wispy plant that is interesting if not beautiful. Definitely distinctive in the garden. In the fall the plant turns golden yellow. We enjoy the asparagus plants for the texture and color they add to the garden.
How do I harvest my asparagus?
Asparagus has both male and female plants. It is recommended that you know what you have growing in your garden. The female asparagus plant will produce a red berry late in the season. The male plant will produce thicker and longer spears which is more desirable.
Other rules of thumb to follow. Don’t harvest asparagus smaller than the diameter of a pencil. The plant should be at least 6 inches high before you harvest. Use a sharp knife or garden snips to cut the asparagus. Some people recommend a diagonal cut just below the surface of the ground. Care must be taken not to damage the crown of the roots. Personally we cut the plants just above the ground to be safe.
What should I do after I have harvested my asparagus?
Just like all plants, asparagus needs water. After you have cut your asparagus, get it into a cool place as soon as possible. Some people recommend wrapping the cut end with a wet paper towel and then placing the asparagus in baggies to store in the refrigerator. Other people put the asparagus in a tall container with water in the bottom. This will help keep the asparagus hydrated in the fridge. For long term storage, good news, asparagus freezes well.
Why is eating asparagus so good for you?
Here are 5 reasons you should add asparagus to your diet:
- Asparagus is loaded with nutrients.
- Asparagus can help fight cancer.
- Asparagus is packed with antioxidants.
- Asparagus is a brain booster.
- Asparagus in a natural diuretic.
Looking for some great asparagus recipes?
Roasted asparagus- recipe HERE.
Baked Asparagus – recipe HERE.
Asparagus Phyllo Appetizers – Recipe HERE.
Sauteed Garlic Asparagus – Recipe HERE.