Did you know that you don’t necessarily have to plant asparagus in a garden to be able to harvest it? There are a lot of places where asparagus grows on its own in the wild. You just have to know where to look for it and how to spot it. Once you are able to find wild asparagus you’ll be able to spot them on the ground no problem. It can be tough to find, but it’s kind of fun hunting for them too. Everyone gets excited when they find a bunch of it, it’s like a treasure hunt. Here’s how to find wild asparagus.
Does Wild Asparagus Grow in Your County?
This is the first step to asparagus hunting. You need to determine whether or not asparagus grows in your area. Unfortunately wild asparagus doesn’t grow everywhere. You could be looking for hours without finding anything only to realize that you live in an asparagus free zone. The USDA has a map where you can see which counties asparagus grows in. If you live in an asparagus free zone, you might need to drive over to another county to do your asparagus hunting.
When to Hunt
Asparagus grows in the early Spring. If you go hunting too early, obviously you won’t be able to see any since they probably haven’t grown yet. Starting to hunt too late means they’ve probably already gone to seed and have become a sort of bushy plant that you don’t want to eat anymore. When in Spring? It depends on where you live. In warm climates you can go much earlier. California's asparagus can be hunted in February. While asparagus in cooler climates like North Dakota or Montana, can be hunted in March until about May.
Image Source: Hank Shaw
Where to Look
Asparagus needs a lot of sun so you won’t find any in the thick of a forest, or where there are a lot of trees. Large, open spaces are the best places to look. An empty field with lots of sun is a good place to start. Asparagus also needs water so they tend to grow where water flows frequently. A lot of times asparagus will grow along ditches. They also have a tendency to grow at the edge of a farm field, along hedge rows, or a fence line.
Spotting the Asparagus
Once you’ve found a likely spot where asparagus might grow, it’s time to really start looking. Look very carefully as you walk along a ditch or fence line. Wild asparagus looks exactly like the asparagus you buy in the store. You’ll see an asparagus stalk just poking up out of the ground. That’s what you’re looking for. Once you find one, there are typically a lot more nearby!
Harvesting the Asparagus
You can simply break off the asparagus with your hands or cut the asparagus with a knife very close to the ground. Be sure to bring a plastic bag with you so that you can put all of your wild asparagus in it. Once you find a whole lot it’s hard to carry. The good news is that asparagus will grow in the same spot next year so as soon as you find it once, you can just keep coming back every year!
Asparagus is delicious and nutritious. Finding your own asparagus is fun and can involve the whole family. Try wild asparagus hunting if you live in an area where it grows. You might be surprised at how much is really out there. You might also be surprised at how fun it is to find.
Image Source: Pixabay