If you are planting a new field of asparagus or getting ready to harvest emerging spears, here are some thoughts:
Are you planting 1-year old crowns or did you seed cell trays and are going to plant seedlings? Remember, 1 year old crowns are planted and not harvested that year. In the second year, only harvest the field for 2 weeks. The third year you can being harvesting for a 6-8 week period after the crowns mature. If planting seedlings, do not harvest the year of planting or the year after. Then in the 3rd year harvest for 2 weeks, and after 4 years begin the 6-8 week cutting period.
Prolonged harvest seasons that go longer than 8 weeks can stress the plant that could lead to root and crop rot development. In addition to quality decline of fields, drought stress, pest pressure and inadequate fertility can cause poor vigor and yield loss. For more information on commercial asparagus production see the 2014 Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations fro New Jersey.