Geek Trivia

Which Of These Common Vegetables Is A Prolific Perennial?

A Clever 1960s Prank Convinced Swedes They Could Watch TV In Color With?

Answer: Asparagus

Many of the vegetables we consume are annuals—they are planted in spring, harvested in mid-summer or autumn, and the cycle is repeated every year. Many crops like corn, wheat, rice, lettuce, peas, beans, and more fall into the annual category (and many more are planted as if they were annuals for various reasons, like not being cold hardy, for example).

One of the more curious exceptions to this rule is asparagus. Given its size and structure, it would seem like something that should be an annual, but in reality, not only is asparagus a perennial, it’s a very long-lived and prolific perennial at that.

It takes 2-3 years for an asparagus plant to mature enough to reach the harvesting stage (the early spears of asparagus aren’t particularly big or numerous). After the initial settling in period, however, asparagus plants not only produce many spears, but they continue to do so for decades. It’s commonplace for asparagus plants to survive for twenty years, but with good soil, care, and climate, they can even last upwards of thirty.