The Q&A Archives: Harvesting Asparagus

Question: Of the many questions people have posted on asparagus, no one seems to ask how to harvest it. I guess it seems obvious (just snap off the spears), but sometimes I feel that snapping off the spears by hand might put lots of strain on the crowns. Do you recommend using a knife? If so, how deep should you cut the spears (relative to the ground? relative to the crowns themselves?) Does any particular method seem to encourage better production of spears?

My asparagus was already planted in my community garden plot when I got it so I don't know how old it is. It seems to be doing great though, I've had a good crop for two years now. Oh, one more question, why are some spears real thick and others thin?

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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