First little asparagus harvest of the season. We have about 20 asparagus plants and are always excited when the first shoots are big enough to pick.

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable and easy to grow. You just need space, sun and patience. The asparagus crowns should each have between six and nine square feet to allow room for growth and space for you to walk around them to harvest the spears. Asparagus plants will live for 15 to 20 years, so be sure you know exactly where you want them in the garden as once they are established they have huge roots!

The plants should be about three years old before any spears are harvested to allow them time to develop a robust root system. If unpicked, the spears will grow into large ferns. Ours usually reach five to six feet. Be sure to leave at least one unharvested spear for each crown, as the fern nourishes the plant. I usually leave two spears to develop into ferns and don’t harvest any spindly spears. The ferns can be gently trimmed and will provide lovely foliage for flower arrangements.