Asparagus, a long-lived perennial vegetable, is one of the first vegetables to harvest from the garden in the spring. The tender asparagus spears can be sautéed, grilled, steamed and marinated. Asparagus can be planted from seed, plants or crowns—and gardeners can choose from heirloom asparagus and all-male hybrids for sale. Usually all-male hybrids produce the highest yields. Because asparagus returns year after year, often for 15 years or more, take care in selecting where to plant it. Asparagus grows best in full sun (six or more hours of direct sunlight daily) and well-drained, sandy or loamy soil. Most gardeners plant asparagus crowns in the spring.