mskellylauren4
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Asparagus - Year 2

Hello! I'm new to gardening.

My question is in regards to second-year asparagus growing:

I planted my asparagus last year. I bought crowns from a reputable greenhouse. I planted about four crowns and that same year had three single stalks pop up and fern. I cut them down as instructed. This year (second year of growth) only two single stalks have produced. As expected, they are quite thin and I will not harvest unless they are thicker than a pencil.

I would like to know why only two stalks have produced when I have planted several more crowns? Is this normal as it is only year two or did I do something when planting to affect the rest from growing? Thanks! :)

So excited to eat my asparagus, hopefully next year!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Asparagus - Year 2

Not normal. Each crown should produce at least one stalk; in the second year there should be more. If they didn't come back, your crowns have died. I can't tell you why, but you can dig them up and inspect, should tell you more: if mushy and rotten, over watered; if dry and shrivelled, under watered; or maybe have holes eaten in them or signs of disease.

It will help you to know what happened to them, to avoid it in the future.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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jal_ut
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Re: Asparagus - Year 2

You say: "I cut them down as instructed."

Not sure just what you mean by this. That first years growth must be let stand all season until after the fall frost. Then you cut it down.
Next year you can cut all spears up until June 1. Do not cut any after June 1, until after the fall frost, then you cut them all and clean up the area. It is this ferny growth that is the leaves that make the food to feed the roots and store up energy for the next Spring crop.

Sometimes I have had the little gophers eat the crowns in the winter. The plant seems to be pretty winter hardy. It will usually make winter here in this zone 5 area.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

SQWIB
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Re: Asparagus - Year 2

My first year (season) I let it all go to fern, die back in the winter and trimmed in the early spring

I trimmed and added composted manure, I rarely water.
My 2nd year (season) [this year] I harvested for one week about 8 pieces, I was very conservative
I am letting the rest fern out and they are about 6' tall right now and as thick as my pinky finger.

May 2nd
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bri80
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Re: Asparagus - Year 2

I agree with jal_ut, why would you cut down the first year's growth before it went through a season (assuming that's what you meant)? You'd starve the crowns of food and they'd probably die (which it sounds like most of them have). I think someone gave you bad advice, or there was a miscommunication.

Yearoundgardener
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Re: Asparagus - Year 2

I'll have to agree with those who question the "Cutting Down" the first years growth?
I have a 70' X 60' veggie garden, and I have asparagus plants along three sides, planted 15 years ago, and just added 5 more plants this year to fill in a corner that used to be one entrance!
Once you plant the crown, you leave it alone until after it has died back in the Winter. I would NOT cut any shoots off during the second year either, as you want the plants to grow new shoots for the following year. Each year, a shoot will come back thicker than the previous year, along with sibling spears.
My procedure has been the same every year, with this year having asparagus for over 6 weeks, despite having early warm weather followed by killing freezes, which kill off most of the shoots that were already up! (I harvested all the shoots as they would die from the freeze).
I start cutting shoots as soon as they sprout in Spring, provided they are thicker than a ball point pen.
After the first several weeks of harvesting, I then allow two shoots out of each batch that breaks the ground to grow, and harvest any new shoots that crowd the first two, but also leave any others that come up singly, so I soon have a hedge of asparagus ferns. I find the BEST tasting spears are the oldest fattest spears, and LEAVE most that are pencil sized for the following years. In spite of three spaced hard freezes this year, I picked about 15 pounds of Asparagus from March to mid April!
The BEST way to cook/enjoy asparagus is to lay them flat in a cast iron or non stick fry pan in a single layer. Almost cover with water, then Bring the heat up to high before putting the pan on the burner, so the water boils quickly! As soon as the water boils for a minute, remove and drain the water add two pats of butter to the pan and melt over med low heat, coating the spears, remove to a flat dish and quickly top with grated parmesan, UMM GOOD!

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jal_ut
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Re: Asparagus - Year 2

I hope you are not trying to grow asparagus in containers? It needs to go in the ground.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

ACW
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Re: Asparagus - Year 2

Asparagus envy coming at you all from London England .
Five or was it 6 years ago I bought from the farmers market seedlings that went in my veg bed .

Some of the 12 have survived ,but all they do is send up a single shoot,one is reaaly thick the others are pencil size.
Hope some one can sugest ways of getting production next year,I have left the single stems to fern out!
A gardener with a small shady back garden and a balcony with containers ,
biggest problem not enough sunshine !

Yearoundgardener
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Re: Asparagus - Year 2

ACW wrote:Asparagus envy coming at you all from London England .
Five or was it 6 years ago I bought from the farmers market seedlings that went in my veg bed .

Some of the 12 have survived ,but all they do is send up a single shoot,one is reaaly thick the others are pencil size.
Hope some one can sugest ways of getting production next year,I have left the single stems to fern out!

I would cut the "Thick" shoot off at the ground level, and eat it! Once cut, the root underneath will send out several more shoots
which will thicken each year! So do you see how it works? Like pruning a tree or bush, when you cut off a growth shoot, it will send out many smaller shoots that thicken in future years.
So cut the spears that you feel are big enough to eat, it will then send slender ones up, and the process repeats, each year!
They also like regular watering so as not to dry out, for faster growth!

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