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Like this:

enter image description here

From what I understand:

  • It's a perennial that emits spears from a central crown - those are what we eat.
  • If we don't eat the spears, they turn into ferns. Those ferns absorb sunshine and fuel the growth of the crown.
  • The crown absorbs nutrients from its root system, and underwrites the formation of spears.
  • As the crown gets bigger, it can fuel more (and bigger) spears.
  • We generally only harvest for about a month out of the year, because we need to support the needs of the crown (carb accumulation).

I'm trying to keep things simple and convenient as I design my garden. Instead of putting our harvest on a calendar, could we:

  • Build a year-round greenhouse (I'm in Zone 5b)
  • Plant a bunch of crowns
  • Cultivate them for a few years - no harvesting whatsoever. Just load up the carbohydrate reserves and fuel the growth of the crown and its root system with compost/biochar/etc
  • After a few years, cut 50% of the ferns down, per crown, so that 50% of the spears-turned-ferns are collecting nutrients that provide for a continuous harvest of spears, year-round, no calendar needed?

Bonus Q:

  • Does the asparagus plant really need winter? Is there anything in its DNA that activates critical biological mechanisms in response to cold seasons?
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  • The tops will die back every winter. But they are a good marker when looking for wild asparagus in the spring; the conical shape and gold-like color are diagnostic. Jun 30 at 18:53
  • "Does the asparagus plant really need winter?" Most "non-tropical climate" plants have an annual growth cycle controlled day length, temperature, or both. Of course you could subvert that with a controlled environment to get a crop at any time of the year, but if you permanently remove what triggers the cycle, the plant won't thrive.
    – alephzero
    Jun 30 at 19:09
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Depends on what you mean by "continuously". I would pick until new stalks were under roughly 3/8" ( 10 mm). Although I see some stalks in the store at 1/4". That is I would harvest on the basis of only size. Apparently it does need winter as i now live in Zone 8 and see no local asparagus. Footnote: When I lived in Zone 5 , I knew of an unused asparagus farm ( about 2 acres ). We picked it once , stalks to 3" + and tender ( so much for the folklore about size ). We returned to find a neighbor owned it and chased anyone away who trespassed ; he never picked it.

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