Once upon a time, many years ago, people would grow asparagus for its medicinal properties and it was considered a delicacy. Today, asparagus is commonly available and a great source of vitamins and minerals. It also makes a great, and easy, addition to your backyard garden.
There are two common types of asparagus plants: green and purple (burgundy). Both types require the same care and maintenance and are commonly distributed as all-male plants as these are bigger and more suitable for eating. Green asparagus is more productive and it can be found in grocery stores – fresh bundles in the produce section, frozen, and even canned. Purple asparagus is more tender and sweeter than the green stalks, but it is also rarely found in stores. When cooked, purple/burgundy asparagus will become green, so, for full visual appeal, it’s best enjoyed fresh!
Here at Stark Bro’s, our asparagus plants ship as bare-root crowns, dormant and ready to be planted when they arrive. If you are unable to plant when your asparagus plants arrive, we have some tips for ways you can delay planting here.
These plants will require 2-3 more years to fully mature. For the first couple years, your plant will feature tiny asparagus-like sprouts that may be lightly harvested as the plant becomes established. Harvesting is easy — simply cut the shoots/spears just below the soil surface or just above the ground. The young spears are what get eaten most commonly because, once the buds along the shoots open, the plant will take on a fern-like appearance and become “woody” fairly quickly. Asparagus tends to be less appetizing once it reaches this point.
In the first few years, as the plants become established and mature, a majority of the spears should be allowed to progress to the “fern” stage to gather nutrients to support future spear development. Asparagus plants are easy to grow in most areas. Since asparagus is a perennial vegetable, it comes back year after year. A good harvest method is simply to select the larger stalks to eat and let the smaller ones leaf-out and support the asparagus plant’s future productivity. After planting, asparagus plants become productive within a few short years (at least two full growing seasons), so look forward to harvesting your own asparagus each year starting in early spring!