Answer: As a matter of fact, just the opposite is true when harvesting asparagus. If you use a knife, you may injure the crown, but snapping the spears off at or just below ground level will keep the crowns safe from injury.
Mature crowns produce thick spears. When the size of the spears begins to diminish, stop harvesting and allow ferns to develop to help recharge the roots for next year's harvest.
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