Asparagus is a healthy and nutritious addition to your diet. It is low in calories, with only 20 calories in a ½ cup serving, provides a good source of fiber, is high in antioxidants, and is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. This perennial vegetable does take a few years to become fully established but growing your own asparagus in the home garden will provide your family with fresh spears every year for up to 15 years.
How much asparagus per person: to serve or grow?
Each asparagus plant will produce one ½ cup serving per season. You will need 10 to 20 plants per person to enjoy fresh asparagus for 4 to 8 weeks during the summer. Asparagus freezes well and maintains good flavor and texture. If you intend to preserve your fresh asparagus by freezing it, you may want 30 or more plants per person.
Is asparagus sold by weight or by individual spears?
Asparagus is typically sold per pound but may also be sold per bundle, depending on your location and the vendor’s discretion. Pay special attention to the identifying tag and look for the words ‘per pound’ or ‘per bundle’ as it can make a significant difference in how much you will need to pay for the asparagus.
How many spears of asparagus are in a pound?
The number of asparagus spears in a pound varies depending on the thickness and length of the asparagus spear. On average, one pound of asparagus contains 12 to 15 individual spears if the spears are between ½ and ¾ inch in diameter and are 9 to 10 inches long.
One-pound bundles of small, slender asparagus spears may contain 30 to 40 spears, while 20 to 30 medium-sized spears make up a pound.
How much asparagus per person (to serve)?
The standard serving size for asparagus is ½ cup. This equals about ¼ of a pound of asparagus or 3 or 4 spears. A pound of asparagus generally yields approximately two cups of chopped asparagus once it has been trimmed and chopped.
Keep in mind that the ends of the asparagus spear tend to dry out and toughen the longer it is held before preparing and cooking. Asparagus that has been sitting for days before preparing it for consumption may incur more waste as the tough ends must be trimmed.
The quality of the asparagus also affects how many servings you will get from a pound. Ideally, asparagus is harvested so that the entire spear is crisp and tender. However, some vendors will cut their spears longer, and the cut end may be tough and stringy. If this is the case, you will have more waste when you cut and trim the asparagus spears.
How many spears of asparagus grow from one plant?
Each asparagus plant also called an asparagus crown, produces approximately 20 to 25 asparagus spears. This equals about ½ pound of asparagus per season from each plant. As the plants mature over several years, they will likely produce thicker spears, increasing your harvest.
How much asparagus to plant per person?
How much asparagus you should plant depends on how well your family likes asparagus and whether you intend to freeze some for winter use. You will likely need 10 to 20 asparagus plants per person if you wish to eat it two to three times a week when it is in season.
Each plant will produce around a ½ cup of asparagus through the entire growing season. Because it is harvested over several weeks, the amount of asparagus from each harvest will be much less.
When can you harvest asparagus?
Asparagus takes several years to become established and produce large spears. In fact, you shouldn’t harvest any asparagus in the first season to let the plants mature and grow. You can harvest some asparagus in the second year but must do so sparingly to avoid causing too much stress to the plants.
You can harvest all the spears as they emerge for six weeks in the spring by the third year. After the initial harvest, it is important to let any new spears that emerge grow for the summer. They will produce large frilly, fern-like plants that provide energy to the roots and ensure a good crop of fresh asparagus the following year.
By year four, you can harvest all of the new spears for a period of 8 weeks in the spring before you allow the remaining spears to grow into the full-sized plant.
How do you harvest asparagus?
Use a sharp knife to cut the asparagus spears close to the ground when they are 6 to 8 inches tall. Remember, do not harvest any asparagus in the first year and harvest it sparingly in the second year. By year three you can harvest your asparagus for six weeks in the spring. By year four, your asparagus plants are mature and established and can be harvested for eight weeks in the spring before you need to let the remaining spears grow.
What are asparagus crowns?
Asparagus crowns are the roots of an asparagus plant planted to produce new asparagus. You can find them in home gardening centers or in seed catalogs online in the spring. You may also see them labeled as asparagus plants, but asparagus crowns are the most common name used.
Can you plant asparagus from seed?
You can plant asparagus from seeds, but they generally need to be started inside and transplanted to the garden once the danger of frost has passed in your area. Asparagus planted from seed will take longer to produce fresh asparagus spears and may delay harvest by a year or more.
Asparagus crowns are typically a year old when you receive them giving you a head start on your asparagus production. I have an article that shows you how to grow asparagus from crown cuttings if you’d like to know more.
Planting asparagus in your home garden is a great way to add variety to your family’s diet. While it does take a couple of years to become established, this amazing vegetable will continue to return every year for the next 15 (or more) years. As another added bonus, the mature plants are decorative with their ferny foliage that turns bright yellow in the fall.