First-year asparagus o.k. to eat? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

My first-year asparagus has edible sized spears. Can I cut this and eat, or is there a reason why they say your asparagus isn't ready until the second year? If I don't cut it, do I just let it grow and do what it wants?

-- Monica Stock (, April 14, 2002


Hi Monica

It is my understanding that with 1 y/o plants, as long as the spears are of a size to be picked, then doing so is acceptable for 2 weeks ONLY. Then just let the fronds grow - do their own thing. This allows the roots to develope stronger. For their 2nd season, pick for 4 weeks, 3d season - 8 weeks, 4th season and ever year after - 12 weeks.

Takes a while to get a good strong asparagus bed established - but well worth the time, energy, and patience. BTW - best thing you can do for your bed is lots of horse manure! Asparagus plants are addicted too it and will grow like wild fire for you! ENJOY! :-)

-- dottie (, April 14, 2002.

actually, yes you can pick it, but you have to let some of it mature into the big fronds, so that it will put power and energy into growing, instead of into makingm ore and more stalks, i would only pick maybe for 2-3 meals worth , then let it go ,

BTW, to really help asperagus, keep the bed totally weed free , by salting the bed aspeargus can tolerate , and even likes rather salty ground, due to it beign a wild coastal plant, and a little goes a long way towards keeping the area weed free.

whatever you do dont use plastic or mulching fabric, you can over heat the crowns , plus you could trap shoots under the fabric

-- Beth Van Stiphout (, April 14, 2002.

I didn't know that asparagus was a wild coastal plant!! We have it growing wild here in S Indiana, I wonder if it's the same kind?

-- Tracy (, April 14, 2002.

We have a bed of asperagus that is 12 years old. Planted in the spring and did not pick any till the 2nd. season. Horse manure is ideal for asperagus but be sure to compost it to kill weed seed first. We pick till the spears get down to the size of a lead pencil then let it grow ferns. It is easier than watching a calendar. After the fern are 2 to 3 feet tall we turn our chicken flock in to it. They keep the weeds down, till the bed, and almost eliminate the asperagus beetles plus fertilize while there. The flock will be out and about and a rooster will make a odd call. The hens will go in a dead run to the asperagus patch. You can bet there is a red-tail hawk nearby. Must be working, we picked spears the size of quarters April 13th. Just go easy on your asperagus the first year or two, feed it good and it will feed you for a long time. We have not used salt for weed control but have heard about it, how much is enough or too much?

-- Dave (, April 14, 2002.

Monica, I got a nice bed with this house. But everything I have ever read and know is to wait until at least the second year. The shoots shouls be as thick as a #2 pencil or thicker. With my bed, which has been here for years, I never pick the really skinny ones but let them bolt and flower out and go to seed. I will mow my bed down at least once mid-season and again when I put the mower away for the winter.

Asparagus are native to MN also. We have a lot of wild plants.


-- Susan in MN (, April 14, 2002.

If you wait till the 3rd year to harvest any of your asparagus your total harvest over the years will be much better. I have read this several places. I am on my 3rd year for my first planting of asparagus, next year I can harvest my second patch.

-- Pat (, April 14, 2002.

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