This perennial plant will appear once the ground warms up pushing up edible spears or shoots that can grow up to 4” – 6” per day. Planting asparagus from seed will take up to 3 years before harvesting and yearly yields will produce for 20 years or more. At our Homestead, we let our first year spears produce into lacey ferns called fronds that grow 3′ to 4′ high. They will feed the rhyzome root system of the plant through photosynthesis and will reproduce new and stronger shoots the second year. The third year, the mature spears appear and to be harvested.
When planting asparagus crown plugs versus seeds you will have a small 2 – 3 week harvest the second year after planting versus 3 years after seeding. The rule of thumb after plants have become established and mature, you will get approximately half pound of asparagus from each plant up to eight weeks. Continuing to harvest the yield until they only grow the thickness of a pencil that indicates that it is time to stop harvesting. Therefore when harvesting, choose the larger shoots and make slanted cuts at the surface of the ground. Remember, harvest from the mature plants and not the first years’ growth.
Asparagus beetle can sometimes become a problem, so try to interplant basil, parsley and calendula as a trap crop and nasturtiums to repel any aphid problem. These companions will also attract beneficial parasites especially when the parsley goes to seed.