Asparagus in October

by - October 13, 2011

In March of 2010, I planted Purple Passion Asparagus up one of our property lines. These were two-year roots, and as recommended, we didn't harvest that spring. This spring, once again we didn't harvest but let the spears branch out for a month or so before cutting them down. Soon after, new spears popped up in their place. I decided to harvest these, and they were delicious. Another wave came to replace those, which I allowed to grow for another month before my husband mowed them over again. Now, in the middle of October, I have another harvest.

I am not sure that our cultivation methods were good for the plants. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension's article, asparagus should be harvested for only 8-10 weeks in the spring before being allowed to grow. However, they do present another technique for getting both a spring and fall harvest:
A third technique for extending asparagus harvest has been the subject of university research and is recommended for home gardeners who have plenty of space. Plant double the amount of asparagus needed for your household. Harvest half of the plants as you normally would in spring and early summer, then allow the foliage to grow for the rest of the season. During the early harvest period, allow the ferns to grow in the other half of the asparagus planting. Then, cut the ferns in the second half in late July. This causes the crowns to send up new spears, which can be harvested till late in the season. If rainfall is short in summer, it will help to water this bed for good spear production. Light mulch will help keep the soil surface from becoming too hard for the shoots to break through easily. If using this method, harvest the spring bed only in spring and the fall bed only in fall! Otherwise, you risk weakening the crowns.
 Now that I did a fall harvest, I ought to leave them alone until the frost if they do send up any more spears. Sadly, Joe finds the fern-like foliage ugly and inconvenient to mowing and weeding. I don't mind it, but I'm not the one operating the heavy equipment. I will have to treat the crowns to a fresh batch of compost as an apology for this season's abuse.

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