Asparagus at Last

Asparagus growing in the garden

Asparagus is one of the very few vegetables that grows in the garden almost exactly the way you see it sold in the produce isle. Even my husband, who went out and purchased rosemary because he “couldn’t find” the huge two foot tall rosemary bush right by the front gate, easily recognized the asparagus this year. My asparagus story begins three years ago, when I started my whole patch from seed. Asparagus is a long term perennial vegetable, well worth the wait in my opinion.

Soon the growing tips will bolt up and sprout into a three foot tall feathery fern

The first year asparagus ferns come up about the size of a tooth pick, the miniscule spears would look just right at a Barbie’s dinner party. Each year asparagus expands almost exponentially, year two they were about the size of a chopstick and technically I probably could have harvested some slender spears but I left them alone. This year my asparagus is big fat crayola marker width and defiantly ready for eating. I am only planning to snitch a couple spears from each plant, I don’t want to harm the crowns from over picking. I have heard asparagus is hard to grow, but this was not my experience at all starting from seed.

the central stalk of asparagus fern is too slender to support it self it will flop over and drape over other plants

So far the asparagus has been straight forward just following the directions on the seed package and better yet drought tolerant. Last year I did try adding some purple asparagus I purchased as bare root stock crowns but none of the root stock survived. Some did shoot up a spear or two but none have come back this year, just in case you are wondering purple asparagus does not produce purple ferns, the ferns of all asparagus are green.

In fall asparagus fern turns vibrant yellow

Asparagus will naturally spread and form new clumps by shooting out underground root runners, I have never heard of asparagus becoming invasive but perhaps in a small garden any plant that self propagates could be labeled as invasive? Digging out the bigger weeds in my asparagus patch I noticed tons of asparagus runners looking to take over new territory. Accidently I broke up some of the roots, they divided very easily, perhaps I will soon have some crowns to give away and trade?

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