Asparagus Angst | Indoor Vegetable Garden | Experiential Learning | Our Queer Life | Coastal Living | Clara & Cole


Asparagus Head Development

My (more successful) second attempt at indoor asparagus cultivation.

When I told Clara that I wanted to grow asparagus indoors, she kindly informed me that the root requirements would be impossible to meet. Her experience with organic gardening proved accurate. Google backed her up. 

I gave it a shot anyways in a five inch pot. The asparagus seed sprouted, but faltered quickly. Not to be deterred, I rallied with a five gallon fabric planter and several asparagus seeds embedded just below the surface of pre-soaked soil. 

Within days, little green asparagus sprouts poked out from the soil, and they haven’t stopped since. As the asparagus matures, two defined “heads” have solidified. Each produces a new asparagus sprout every few weeks.

Recently, I moved the plant from the office to the living room and a majority of the fern asparagus seems to have died. I almost gave up hope until I saw a small, pale, green stalk poke up from the faded top of the asparagus “head” root ball. Please excuse my stunning lack of technical terminology. 

My Dad recommended that I drastically prune the plant, and I can feel that moment rapidly approaching. 

Expectations vs. Reality

Dreams of eating fresh asparagus fade behind the joy of seeing a large plant indoors. 

Nutrients I forget that different plants need different nutrients. We have Fox Farms organic plant nutrients, and use the fertilizer on all our houseplants.  The soil we use starts with nutrients embedded in the potting medium, as well.
This experience reinforces the importance of education. I have zero experience with food cultivation and it shows. Before I saw gorgeous, thick, stalks of asparagus in Clara’s parents garden, I had no clue how asparagus actually grew. I fell in love with the idea of asparagus sprouts in my house, especially because they look almost like succulents. 

While the asparagus has taken root, the stalks produced remain quite thin. 

I wonder if the stalks will thicken when I prune it. I remember the asparagus at Clara’s parents house as well pruned and neatly kept. They looked almost like cactus in the desert.

With time, my expectations adjust. I start to wonder about eating baby asparagus sprouts, in micro green style. 

“I need to figure out how much fertilizer is safe and how to minimize transfer of toxins into the asparagus.”

Then, I recall the nutrients we use, and wonder if I may have missed how to evaluate the safety of potentially produced produce. I really don’t want to ingest more fertilizer than I already do from grocery store produce. 

I tried removing the fertilizer, and the asparagus stopped producing new sprouts. Thus, if I want my plant to live, I need to figure out how much fertilizer is safe and how to minimize transfer of toxins into the asparagus.

Time to Prune

Will my asparagus plant survive?

More than half the plant appears toasty brown. I’m sure I should have pruned it long before now.

I’m interested to learn through experience about asparagus and the life cycle of the plant.

“We use a Honeywell HEPA air purifier, and supplement with as many plants as I can manage to keep alive.”

I hope it proves less susceptible to problems than my late potato plant. So far, no flies.

My air plants helped improve my confidence when it comes to pruning, but asparagus is rather different from air plants. 

I always water and fertilize before pruning to give the plant a little extra boost. It can make it harder to identify exactly which spots to prune, though. In my opinion, it’s worth it. 

The more climate change effects our natural environment, the worse our air quality becomes, and the importance of air purification grows. 

We use a Honeywell HEPA air purifier, and supplement with as many plants as I can manage to keep alive. Our downstairs neighbors smoke cigarettes without opening their windows, so our apartment starts at a deficit when it comes to clean air. In regards to effective air purification, I love the multi stalk characteristic of asparagus, and it’s fern-like nature. 

I hope that after pruning, the asparagus grow even more luscious. I hate to lose the air purification from the bushy fern like plant the asparagus has become.


April 14:

  • My risk paid off. Post-prune, my asparagus has grown massively. Four asparagus stalks reach about three to four feet above the fabric pot.
  • It still isn’t as bushy as it previously was, but all of the plant glows green.
  • The stems thickened overtly after pruning, and I am fighting the urge to drastically prune the plant again to see how thick I can grow it. Would trimming the limbs thicken the stem?
  • Even with the wall, the asparagus needs structure to stand. I stack the new growth on top of the old growth, and so far it has been strong enough to bear the weight.
  • I noticed a major change after pruning. Before pruning, new sprouts popped up every few days so long as I kept the fertilizer and water consistent. Post-prune, there have been no new sprouts. Each of the four remaining stalks continue to thicken and grow, and I’m sure if I pruned them they would grow back? 

May 21: 

  • After a month or so, three new sprouts joined my asparagus family! I doubted whether the asparagus would have enough room for more roots in the pot, but it seemingly does! The fledgling asparagus stalks appear about a millimeter thicker than the older plants. 
  • I’ve been watering every two or three weeks, a half a liter at a time. Every other month time I add a teaspoon of Fox Farms to the water. 
  • Clara says the width of these latest stalks of asparagus looks appetizing! Maybe the next batch that grow we will try. If so, I will certainly share how it goes. 

May 29: 

  • I can’t get over this huge plant friend of mine! If I’m not careful, I’ll have a bonafide asparagus bush on my hands in the living room. 
  • A total of eight stalks form my asparagus plant.

Clara & Cole Queer couple living a block from the beach.  Planning the ultimate queer DIY wedding.  Alt-left, feminist atheists who think science is really cool.  Guardians to two majestic dogs, Ocean and Forest. We love homegrown adventures, beach days, queer gardening, and other shenanigans. We try new things. DIY projects, travel, etc.

Forest & Ocean Forest: 3 year old brindle Pit Bull and Chihuahua mix from Palo Alto, California. At 35 lbs, she makes her presence known despite her short stature.  Ocean: 8 month old American Staffordshire Terrier from Rhode Island. Also 35 lbs, she is almost double the height of her sister!