While it’s easier to find asparagus in the summer or late fall (when it’s too late to harvest), you can find it in the spring as well… if you know what you’re looking for.
The spears of asparagus are nearly impossible to see from the road, unless they’re so tall they’re starting to go to seed. But the dried stalks of last year’s plants are much easier to spot, and once you know what they look like and where they tend to be, you’ll be finding new asparagus patches in no time.
The “green christmas tree” stage of summer and the “yellow christmas tree” stage of September and October dry out into a very distinctive shape, as seen in the pictures. Unless they’re caught in another plant, the tops are so heavy that the dried plant falls over to one side. Look in ditches and near old farm properties for the thick dried stems with the feathery tops leaning in the same direction.
It’s also very handy when you’re walking along. We have one area that has large asparagus patches on either end, but just a few plants between. As we walk along the ditch, we keep an eye out for these dried stems. It’s led to some new discoveries which were added to our map for next year.
The new asparagus may not be growing directly from the old stems (although if you look at the picture, you can see one peeking out from the stalks). They may be growing anywhere within a foot of the dried stalks, if they are coming up from seed.
Have fun, and happy asparagussing!