The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Harvesting August asparagus

Rainy garden

Bouts of cool, rainy weather prompt our asparagus to send up new spears, even if it is August instead of April.  In the past, I've left these late-summer asparagus spears alone, but this week I started wondering how much energy late spears will really sock away for spring.  Our asparagus patches are already covered with forests of fronds, and there are only two months of growing time left before frost (with the days getting shorter and cooler August asparagusall the time).  So I opted to pick a handful of August spears to tempt our jaded summer palate. 

If you really want a late-summer harvest of asparagus, the official method is to plant two beds --- one for spring and one for fall.  In the fall bed, you don't harvest any spears when they first come up, letting the plant put all of its energy into frond production.  Then, in July or August, you lop down all the tops and enjoy the new spears that come up in their place.

We have so many vegetables to choose from at this time of year that it doesn't seem worth setting aside asparagus beds just for a fall harvest.  But a stolen spear here or there never hurt anyone....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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