2nd Year Asparagus

Whitman, MA

Hello folks!
Here is my asparagus. This is its second season, so I have not cut any yet. I'm waiting for next year.
Last year, I let it all go to fern like this, and then some of the plants went to seed at the end of the season.
This year, some of it is going to seed much, much earlier. Too early?
Should I keep these stalks with all the seeds on them, or cut them down?
Are they helping to feed the roots? Or just bleeding them of nutrients?
Also...next year, when I begin to harvest...Can I cut the asparagus as they come up? Or do I want to leave some of them to go to fern to keep feeding the roots?
I appreciate any help.
Thanks in advance. :-)

Thumbnail by fodder
Bark River, MI

Fodder, I always leave all the ferns, seeds or not, to grow until the weather is cold, then cut them off and clean up the asparagus bed (which I've read will help keep asparagus beetles and the like from overwintering there). And you can always collect the red berries and use the seeds to start more plants if you like. Next spring, definitely start harvesting as the stalks come up, just leave any that are "smaller than a pencil." Normally I'm done harvesting by the 4th of July but this year I'm still getting some nice stalks (although I've let a lot of them grow up by now as well); I think it was just kind of a strange winter last year for many of us and things are a little of sync right now!

Whitman, MA

Thanks for your reply!
I will take your advice, and leave the plants in.
I may even try to plant a few of the red berries, just to see what happens, but...from what I'm reading,
I would've been better off with another variety, that produces only male plants, but...hey...
I'm 2 years into these plants now!!! LOL I'll see what happens over the next few seasons, eh? :-)

Whitman, MA

Revisiting this post.

So...this year, the 3rd year, when I start harvesting the plants, do I leave ANY to go to fern?
Cut them all? Or leave a couple later-sprouting plants to fern?
If you cut every one that comes up, will the roots be pissed off next year?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

fodder - I'm not an expert when it comes to growing asparagus, but I've read that one should leave some go to fern.

Incidentally, I purchased "all male" asparagus, and some of them set seed anyway!

This will be my 5th season, and some have already sprouted - infact, I'm hoping to pick my first spears later today.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Let's say that when the asparagus spears come up you cut all that are bigger than a pencil. The plant will grow more spears, many will be smaller around than the first ones you cut. When ones grow that are smaller around than a pencil don't cut them. These are the ones you let grow into the ferns that feed the roots for next year. The first year cutting, I don't think I'd go that small

Valdosta, GA(Zone 8b)

I've got some that are moving into their third year, and I just harvested my first three spears today. In the past, I haven't harvested them at all. I've always heard that same "width of a pencil" rule, and I've also heard you should stop harvesting mid-summer to feed the roots for next year. The ones I took today are at least as big around as my thumb. Mine also goes to seed, and I had dozens of baby asparagus plants all over the place last year (I didn't keep them). They can get a little weedy from it, so definitely keep an eye on that.

Brooklyn, WI

Fodder, Ohio State ag ext has an excellent page on asparagus growing, harvesting, etc. I'm putting in a new garden this year and found their advice the most helpful.

silver spring, MD(Zone 7a)


would you mind sending the link? I'm getting ready to dig out a bed of forsythia left by the previous owners and plant it to asparagus. This is my first time so any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Brooklyn, WI

If it won't work, just google ( or whatever ) "ohio state asparagus" and it should be one of the first search results.
Hope it helps.

Huntsville, AR


For the last few years my asparagus bed got over-run with bermuda grass!!

Any suggestions on how to get rid of the grass whilst leaving the asparagus alone??

This picture was taken when I'd realized that the asparagus was starting to grow and I left some of the old stalks still there so as to be able to get a visual of the bed--you can see the pile of old asp. ferns from last year on the right.
Today I pulled all of the old stalks so as to see just the new ones as they come up.
Here's a YouTube video of it just before I pulled up all of the old stalks:

I get TONS of asparagus every year insomuch that I have to start giving tons of it away!!
I've found that the more you neglect it--the better it does!!

I'd brought these from our old farm, and I had to have a BACKHOE dig them up as their roots were about 8 feet long and were like an old dry, cotton string mop--impossible to sink a spade into!!

I'd grown these from seed, and also foraged a lot from finding wild ones (growing wild in ditches, etc.) through the years (about 2--30 foot rows!) and I'd put a lot of work into them, but I couldn't take them all with me. My bed is about 10 years old and some of them didn't make the transplant because I moved to a ROCK county and needed to pick axe out this bed before I could put any asp. in it.The ones that made it are now established and it seems to me now that the more you just leave them alone, the better they do!
1.) let the babies grow out (smaller than a pencil.)
2.) if you find that you'd missed picking one--let it grow and fern out.....it will love you for it!
3.) when they start petering out, just let them grow out....I can't help but think that it's their little reward for all they've given, and I feel it nourishes the plant rhizomes....at least it's a natural thing to them.
4.) drizzle with olive oil, then barbeque them, sprinkling with a little garlic salt...

This message was edited Apr 12, 2011 8:27 PM

This message was edited Apr 12, 2011 8:27 PM

Thumbnail by Curious_Arkie
Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Curious_Arkie - I have fought Burmuda grass and won! To be successful you will have to remove every little piece of the root, or it will regrow.

I cleared out the Burmuda grass before planting asparagus. I don't think you can successfully remove the grass without disturbing the asparagus.

Good luck, Burmuda is difficult to eradicate, but it can be done.

Hallowell, ME

All my asparagus beds have grass but my plants continue to have high yields anyway. One bed is over 20 years old and the other is about 10. I have to give away some. I usually cut for about 4-6 weeks. My favorite use is cream of asparagus soup!!!!!

Hubert, NC(Zone 8a)

Thats cool

Shelburne Falls, MA(Zone 5b)

From Ohio State Agriculture Extension Fact Sheet


The year after planting, asparagus can be harvested several times throughout a three-week period, depending on air temperatures. Research shows there is no need to wait two years after planting before harvesting. In fact, harvesting the year after planting will stimulate more bud production on the crown and provide greater yields in future years, as compared with waiting two years before harvesting.

...Im not waiting!

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