The cutting season normally starts in late March and runs through to mid June.
We are totally dependant on Mother Nature as we do not force our asparagus by using artificial methods to hurry its natural season.
Once cutting has finished the asparagus is allowed to grow to its mature height (approx. 6ft). The plant is then referred to as asparagus fern, with branches of soft green needles (similar to a Christmas tree).
The plant uses energy stored in its root system to produce as much fern as possible. Once it has produced a full canopy, the fern stops growing and spends the rest of the summer and autumn converting sunlight into sugars (photosynthesis) which it stores in its large root system ready for the next years growth. Poor weather and a lack of sunshine during the summer therefore reduce the following year’s potential harvest. Strong winds which break the fern, also waste the plants valuable energy supply as it tries to regenerate.
The asparagus crown is the underground centre of the plant from which the roots radiate and the stems appear. In late June and July the buds for the next year’s asparagus spears form on the crown. Adequate rainfall at this time will increase the number of buds, whereas a very dry spell of weather will limit the number that set.
The fern turns yellow in late autumn, taking all remaining sugars back from the needles into the roots (senescence). The plant remains dormant during the winter, at which time the dead fern is cut and pulverised by machine.
In the spring the earth beds that contain the asparagus crowns are machine cultivated to remove old plant debris and weeds. The rising temperature warms the asparagus beds and once the soil around the crown reached the required temperature it triggers the dormant buds to grow. The asparagus spears break through the soil surface and another asparagus season starts.