Love asparagus, but hate the high cost? Me, too. Growing your own or foraging for fresh is an awesome option to ensure fresh spears each spring. Asparagus season in the Midwest is typically April, May, and into June depending on the temperatures. If you have the space, I highly recommend growing your own to ensure fresh asparagus every spring. If you live near a rural area, foraging is a free, no commitment way to reap the benefits of wild spears.
How to grow your own:
My favorite option of the two is simply growing your own. It’s a little bit of work in the beginning, with absolutely no effort for years to come. It’s hearty and low maintenance, which is exactly my brand of gardening! I absolutely love the flavors and financial savings of growing your own produce, but truth be told, I am not an avid gardener. I am more of a minimum effort, maximum results type gardener. Enter asparagus.
How to plant your asparagus:
1. Start with 1 year old asparagus crowns.
2. Choose a sunny area where you don’t mind the site of tall fern like plants growing.
3. Dig about trench approximately 8″ deep.
4. Plant crowns about 12-15″ apart.
5. Fill in with 3″ of soil.
6. Continue to fill in about 3″ at a time as crowns grow.
7. Wait to harvest until the following spring.
8. Harvest your fresh spears for about 6 weeks, and then let it grow out to allow your plant to produce year after year. When harvesting, remember spears grow extremely fast, so check daily and cut as ready.
How to forage for wild asparagus:
1. Look in ditch banks and along fields for tall fern like plants in the fall when it’s easier to spot, and make a note of the patches. They can grow to be anywhere from 2-5′ tall.
2. In the spring once it gets warm, go back to your noted spots to hunt for wild asparagus spears. The plants grow in patches, so where there is one, there will be more, so keep looking around your spot.
3. Harvest. Visit every few days to cut fresh pieces.
How to harvest and store asparagus:
1. Snap or cut your spears at ground level. I prefer cutting.
2. Harvest daily as asparagus grows quickly and your patch will have spears ready at different times.
3. Place spears in a glass jar with about 1″ of water covering the bottoms. Refrigerate until ready to cook. Add or replace water as needed. I’ve found that it will typically stay fresh for 7-10 days like this.
How do you like to prepare your asparagus? Check out my favorite roasted asparagus recipe here.
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