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How to Find Wild Asparagus

Updated on April 19, 2015
Asparagus
Asparagus | Source

Once the weather turns mild in the spring months, one of the first vegetables of the season is the wild asparagus. Here I'll tell you the easiest way to find some. Once you get started, every year you'll be able to find more and even be able to freeze a little.

My sister Kathy loved to hunt for anything wild including the asparagus, wild strawberries, sponge mushrooms and wild raspberries. Those are some of my fondness memories of time spent with her. She passed away from cancer a few years ago. So, finding the stalks is a special activity for me.


Give Yourself An Early Start - Watch in the Fall

We'd watch in the fall when the stalks turned brown and they were tall above the ground. Learn what the stalks look like.If you forget to do this in the spring, you should still be able to see the stalks all summer long and even in the winter months. The old stalks are usually 3 feet high, so they are hard to miss. They have a light color and sometimes some of the old branches are still there and that makes it even easier to identify. If you just walk and search for spears, you'll probably never find any or it will take hours.

If you have a friend that already picks it, ask them to show you what to look for or look at someone's asparagus patch in their garden.

Most roadsides have some growing wild somewhere.Especially check where old house once sat. The plants usually spread from seeds from old homesteads. Watch for old deserted houses and you'll probably find some growing. Asparagus has such a different look than weeds that it is easy to spot. We'd remember in our minds where to look for the veggie the next year. This method never failed us.

Searching in the Spring

Asparagus usually sprouts up in Michigan in early May around the time the tulips are blooming. If you live in a warmer area, you need to start looking earlier. Don't start searching too late, because the sprouts get tough after about a month.

If you didn't watch in the fall, you can still spot them in the spring by watching for stalks that are an almost tan color. The stalks will be almost 3 feet tall, so they aren't hard to spot.

Check in the spot where you see the old stalks and look for the sprouts coming out of the ground. If you walk along the roadside without looking for the stalks you may spend hours without finding anything.

Now look in the same spot every year and you'll have plenty for good eating.

Picking the Asparagus

Use a knife and cut just below the ground level. Don't pull it out or just cut off the top. If you pull it out, the plant won't come back. If you just cut off the top, you find nice sprouts later on.

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    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 2 years ago from USA

      seraphic, Good luck and I hope you find a huge amount. My sister and I spent hours looking for berries, mushrooms and asparagus. Since she is now passed away, it brings back good memories. Thanks for reading.

    • seraphic profile image

      Seraph 2 years ago from Canada

      My partner and I have started harvesting items in our area such as wild rice, mushrooms, berries and burdock root. I am excited now to go hunting for asparagus ! I live in Canada Manitoba, so I know if you are finding it there I will find it here!

      Voted up! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      tirelesstraveler, It can grow almost anywhere and is just as good as your own garden grown. I hope you find some along the creek.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Asparagus definitely grows in California. We found it along the American River in Sacramento near the university. I am thinking it is also along the creek where I live now, must go look.

      Excellent hub.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      Lins, When you pick the asparagus, it won't have anything that looks like berries. It will just be little spears coming up out of the ground that look just like the asparagus that you buy in the store. Later on it will have what looks like little berries that are the seeds. Good luck finding some. If you know what to look for, it won't be hard.

    • profile image

      Lins 3 years ago

      I'm from southeast MI and just heard about wild asparagus the other day at work. I was told that it is plentiful by railroad tracks for whatever reason. Does the plant have berries on it? The picture in my browser isn't the best. So sorry about your sister by the way :'( Its great you have those memories of her and traditions to honor.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      Marcy, Good luck. At the end of May the asparagus gets too mature to eat usually. Then it is tough, but watch for the stalks later this summer and you'll find some next Spring. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      I dearly love fresh asparagus - especially the tender stalks we get in the spring. I need to find where it grows near me and start looking for those early delicacies! Thanks for the tips and ideas!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      That was part of it, but we also used to pick it and eat it that same day! That's about as fresh as you can get!

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      Stephanie, Somehow the wild stuff does taste better. I think it has to do with the fun you had finding it.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      We used to find wild asparagus along the roadside when I lived in NJ as a kid. I remember walking with my brother and mother looking for those tell-tale tan stalks - and oh, were they good!

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      alocsin, I don't know either if it grows in California. Here in Michigan you find it all over. Thanks for commenting.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      What an interesting thing to do. I don't know that wild asparagus grows in Southern California, my location. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      tirelesstraveler, Thanks for reading the hub and commenting.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Nice hub. Especially like the tribute to your sister.