The Q&A Archives: Pencil-thin Asparagus

Question: My asparagus has been growing coming up on the third season now. I have a good root system, but it is still pencil thin. When will it get fatter? I've cut it back in the winter, but it is still thin. And how do you care for it?

Answer: Perhaps your plants need a feeding to promote better yields. Generally it is a good idea to let the new plants grow and become established for the first year, thus delaying any harvest until the next year. When you do begin to harvest, cut only those spears larger in diameter than a pencil. Keep new asparagus plantings well watered in the spring.

Asparagus is a heavy feeder, so in addition to adding organic material regularly, top dressing with bone meal (phosphorous) and greensand (potassium) is beneficial.

This fall, cut the stems off at about a two inch height after frost when they turn yellow. (Do this before any berries turn red and fall off or you will have seedlings crowding the bed next year.) Remove all of the asparagus debris. Then layer the bed with four to six inches of compost or organic mulch to help control weeds next year and also add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Good luck!

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