How to Grow Asparaguscomments (6) July 31st, 2008
Harvesting is a snap. Spears should be harvested by hand when they are 6 in. to 8 in. tall and the tips are still tight. I recommend snapping asparagus off at soil level. This severs the spear at the junction between the green tender tissue above the ground and the white woody tissue below. All of the stalk you get is edible, and you won’t injure spears that have not yet emerged. You can use a knife to cut the spears just below the surface, but be careful not to damage the developing spears and the crown.
If you plan to store the asparagus for several days, leave some of the white, woody base. It restricts water loss and helps preserve the upper spear.
Fern formation is critical to next year’s growth. The asparagus will keep growing throughout the summer. But difficult as it may be, you must stop harvesting so some of the spears can go to fern, the stage when the tips turn feathery.
Ferns should not be removed from asparagus plants until after several killing freezes. I often recommend leaving the tops for winter mulch. This mulch can catch snow and protect the plants from severe cold, while adding moisture. More important, however, the ferns also transfer carbohydrates and energy to the roots by photosynthesis. This process is crucial to the development of spears for the next year's harvest.
|Snapping off the spear by hand is easy, and it protects the plant. You can use a knife, but be careful not to damage developing stems.||
At the end of the harvest, allow the asparagus plants to form ferns. These help transfer energy to the roots for good spear development the next season.
by Karen Pendleton
from issue #7
posted in: asparagus