Asparagus plants are generally grown in the roots of 1-year-old plants, called crowns. After crowns are planted in the ground in the conclusion of the winter or the start of the spring, then it takes several weeks to get the first spears to look. These spears are not harvested in the first year. Left alone, they develop into ferns that gather energy for the following year. Asparagus is a perennial plant which can live 15 or even 20 years together with proper care. Spears appear yearly for the life of this plant.
When Spears Appear
Spears appear early in the spring when daytime temperatures frequently hit 60 F or higher. These spears might be harvested when they are 6 to 8 inches long, typically starting in mid March and continuing through mid June. On a mature plant, then this crop continues for up to ten weeks. Spears produced following this 10-week period has to be left to develop to ferns.
Young Plants Grown In Crowns
Crowns are planted in the ground in the late winter or early spring. For a single year, crowns are allowed to develop without any crop taking place. In the spring following the year they are planted in the ground, the new asparagus bushes will produce their first small harvest. To cultivate strong, healthy crops, you have to limit this first harvest to a two-week period, beginning as soon as the first spears are tall enough to be cut. Any spears produced following this two-week period should be left to develop to ferns. Harvesting too much too soon will weaken the crops for future growing seasons.
When Grown From Seeds
Like crowns, seeds are planted in the late winter or early spring. For two decades, seeds are allowed to develop without any harvest taking place. This additional wait time is why a lot of gardeners choose to cultivate their asparagus from healthful shingles, bought in nurseries and garden centres. In the spring of this next year, asparagus grown from seeds produce their very first small harvest. Like asparagus grown from crowns, this first crop period is shortened to 2 weeks.
To crop spears you have to snap them off in the base of this plant. With a knife or scissors to cut spears may come in damaged spears just emerging from the ground. Asparagus does not continue long, and has to be cooked or refrigerated immediately upon being harvested.