Questions About Growing Asparagus

asparagus bed

So… here’s my asparagus that I started from seed and planted this Spring.

Looks okay, right? Problem is,

I have no idea what to do with it now.

Do I prune them, or will they die back for the winter?

Should I thin them? I know I’ve read something about male and female plants.

Can I transplant them somewhere else, and how/when should I do so?

HELP!! I know we’ve got some asparagus growing masters out there! Tell me what to do from here.

Kendra
About Kendra 1123 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

13 Comments

  1. I have transplanted and cut back asparagus at every stage of growth with good success. It just wants to live. When we lived in northwest Arkansas, my husband dug some up from the side of the road in summer and brought it home. We planted it and it did great. It wants good, deep, fertile soil, but will persevere where ever it winds up. You can harvest it until it is the size of a pencil, then let it grow unmolested and allow its roots to build up next years crop.

    I have heard of a way to extend the harvest by harvesting 1/3 of the planting, letting the rest grow. When the first cutting is done, go to the 2nd 1/3 and cut it to the ground. Harvest it until the shoots become the size of a pencil, then let it grow, go to the last 1/3 and proceed as before.

  2. I started off with closer to 125 plants back in 2008… I was trying to garden my stubborn little girl out, but she wasn’t having any of it. She decided to wait until 41w6d before making her appearance, but the garden sure was planted up nicely that spring (now, the weeds took over after that, but still). I like asparagus, just not the $3-$5/lb price around here.

  3. Kendra, I just let ’em go a la Euell Gibbons’ experience. I’ve tried transplanting some as I wanted to use the former-asparagus space for fruit trees, but then at my elderly folks’ apple farm they have random asparagus popping up underneath all the trees (!! talk about multipurpose!) and they all co-exist nicely together. So I’m just leaving the rest of asparagus there. I figure mother nature will thin ’em out if need be, plus when you start harvesting they don’t get near as floofy and Christmas-tree looking. It’s really a trip when those ferny asparagus ‘trees’ get taller than my kids.

    As for the male/female thing… I don’t really yank female plants. I know some folks do (like farms) because they prefer the bigger, wider asparagus stalks to the skinnier female ones. Granted, it is nice to have a bigger harvest, but my yard’s such a smaller scale that I’m good with half my 100 plants being girls (plus then I can still collect seeds when I want to!).

  4. I agree to wait until they are brown and die back before cutting them. If you wait, you may notice the red berries. These grow on the female plants. The male plants are the ones that produce asparagus and those are the ones you want to keep. I let mine go to seed and move the babies in the spring to make sure there is enough space for them all to grow. Best of luck!

  5. I’m with Jessica – we will see if mine survive after having 17 chickens scratching at them over the past month! DOH! Why did I let them in there? Good thing I have seeds that I can plant and then fence in the area next Spring. Good luck with yours. Already alot of great info from Lanna (thanks Lanna!).

  6. I have always just let it go. New asparagus will pop up in the spring. I have cut the old stuff down in the spring if it did not die back, but most of mine usually did. I have transplanted it several times after it was established and it has always thrived. Now if it will thrive even when the new puppies have dug up parts of it, I will be really impressed!

  7. They’ll start turning yellow/shrively/dying back (like those ones on the corners) once you have a hard frost or two. It’s totally fine to leave them and just cut off the above-ground stuff in the spring. If you have a certain type of bugs down there, I know some folks take their flame thrower and take care of the tops and the top layer of soil to make sure whatever critter it is keeps their distance.

    I’m kind of slow/lazy, so some of the old ferny stuff doesn’t get pulled/culled out until some of the new asparagus shoots are 4-8 inches tall. That’s how I’ve ended up with some new asparagus self-seeding itself every so often, by just leaving it there to do it’s thing (Mother Nature’s smarter than I am, that’s for sure).

    If you have some female plants, you should have red berries somewhere around there. If you want, you can collect the berries, and bust ’em open to collect/dry the little black seeds for later.

  8. I have some asparagus that looks just like yours. I can’t wait to hear what the comments are because I don’t know what to do with mine either. It’s so pretty, I thought about using some of the tops in a flower arrangement.

  9. We were told to leave it till spring and just before the last freeze trim it down., that signals for them to start growing again.

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