In Connecticut, we are now getting asparagus shoots popping up and it’s time to cut them and enjoy them. We bought our asparagus roots from Gurney’s last year planted them in a trench and were anxious to taste our new crop.
It used to be that people recommended putting off harvesting asparagus for two years, but the Ohio State University Extension Service of the Horticulture and Plant Science Department now says that research has shown that cutting asparagus tips after one year actually stimulates more bud production and provide greater future yields. You will find similar advice at the National Gardening Association web site.
You should cut the asparagus at the ground line: there is no need to cut below the soil level. During the first year, you can harvest lightly over a three week period, and in the second year, over a four to six week period. Thereafter, you can harvest for six weeks or more.
Asparagus cut right from the garden has an extraordinary flavor that store bought or even farmer’s market purchases can’t duplicate. And after digging the trench the first year and planting the roots, there is really very little to do, except make sure you mark the row so it doesn’t get dug up or tilled accidentally.
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