What To Do With Small Asparagus Spears?

Filed Under: Vegetables, Perennial Plants · Keywords: Should, I, Harvest, Small, Asparagus, Spears · 908 Views
I am harvesting my asparagus and have gotten quite a bit this year. My question is, I have crowns that are sometimes sending up a very small diameter spear along with some that have a diameter appropriate for harvesting. What should I do with the small diameter spears? Should I harvest them as well? Should I let the spears that I do not harvest grow up into the fern structure so they can be adding energy to the crown?


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Answer #3 · Brooks Wilson's Answer · Troy,

I would leave the small spears on the crown to grow. Smaller spears are a sign of weakness, and with Asparagus, leaving the spears will help to make the plant stronger.

I wasn't sure, with your initial question, how long your Asparagus plants had been in the ground. I gave you a more comprehensive answer just in case you had planted them last year. Sounds like you are doing things just right, and should have an even better crop next year.

It was a great question.

Brooks Wilson)



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Answer #2 · Troy Meyers's Answer · This is the 3rd spring they have been in the ground. I have some Jersey that was purchased as 1 yr old roots and some Purple Passion that was purchased as 2 year old roots.

I did no harvesting the first year and only harvested for a few weeks the 2nd year.

Note that most of the spears are of harvestable size. Just every once in a while I get a very small diameter spear come up and I am not sure if the best thing to do is to harvest it as well or to leave it on the crown to grow.)



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Answer #1 · Brooks Wilson's Answer · Hi Troy,

Asparagus grown from seed should not be harvested until the third year. Asparagus planted from 1-year crowns can be harvested lightly on the next year after planting. Keep the harvest to a limited amount. Harvest asparagus in the second year after planting crowns, but do not harvest for more than one month the first time. When the diameter of the spears is less than the size of a pencil, cease harvest­ing. The plant is still expanding its feeder roots and storage root system, and excessive removal of spears weakens the plant. Starting in the forth year the spears may be harvested from April in to June. Harvest spears that are 5 to 8 inches in length by cutting or snapping. To cut a spear, run a knife under the ground where the spear is emerging. Since the spear will be cut below the point of fiber development, snapping the stem is necessary. Cutting may damage some spear tips that have not yet emerged from the ground. To snap a spear, bend it from the top toward the ground. The spear breaks at the point where it is free of fiber.

I would leave the smaller spears alone allowing the plant to gain strength. The smaller spears could be a result of harvesting too soon or too heavy. Maybe next year you will notice improvement.

How old are the plants?

Brooks Wilson)



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