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May 7, 2013 06:23 PM

Harvesting from young asparagus plants: what does "lightly" mean?

I planted a few asparagus crowns 2 years ago. Their first year they put up a few shoots, then last year they went like gangbusters and I had a beautiful asparagus frond forest. I held off on harvesting any spears, though.

There are spears starting to poke up from the ground now, and I recall that the growing instructions said that it's okay to harvest "lightly" for 2 weeks in the third year. Does lightly mean, take only a few spears from each crown for the two weeks? Or can I harvest everything for two weeks and then stop & let the spears grow up into fronds for the rest of the growing season?

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  1. If you planted them only two years ago then be patient and just take a taste from each crown this year and let the sun give strength to the plants. They will serve you well for 20 plus years with fat, sweet stalks. Don't forget to side dress them as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: junescook

      Even when your plants are mature, stop harvesting as of July 4 and let the plants go to ferny stuff. This nourishes the root.

    2. On added word: keep careful watch out for these tiny guys, the black ones with the cream colored spots and the red trim. They're barely 1/4" long but both they and their larvae will damage your crops. They're not terribly fast so you can pick them off and drop them into soapy water, or once the ferns are formed (and you're not going to eat the asparagus any more) spray them with an organic pesticide like rotenone or pyrethrin.: