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Asparagus, harvesting

  • Asparagus is a very hardy, perennial, cool-season vegetable which can live from 12 to 15 years or longer. It is one of the most valuable early vegetables and is well adapted to freezer storage.

    Asparagus takes several years to mature. Asparagus shoots (spears) should not be harvested the first season after crowns are set. Harvest lightly for 3 to 4 weeks the second year. An extra year is added to the above schedule for asparagus started from seed; i.e., do not harvest at all the first 2 seasons, and harvest lightly the third. When the asparagus plants are in their fourth season, they may be harvested for 6 to 10 weeks per year.

    Harvest spears daily during the harvest period and use the asparagus or refrigerate it immediately in a plastic bag. The 6- to 8-inch spears are best, and should be snapped or cut off just below the soil surface. If the asparagus is allowed to get much taller, the bases of the spears will be tough. Cutting too deeply can injure the crown buds that produce the next spears.