Ask Our Experts

Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.

Add to My MSN

What Is the Best Way to Harvest Asparagus?

7/30/2008 12:00:00 AM

Tags: asparagus, weeds

We moved to an old property with a 12-by-6-foot patch of asparagus that is overrun with weeds. Should I dig up the patch and replant it? What’s the best way to harvest asparagus?

Instead of trying to dig and move your patch, concentrate on reclaiming what’s there. Asparagus persists for decades, and the amount of work it will take to rejuvenate your plot is nothing compared to digging it up. Asparagus can outcompete weeds, but your spears will be bigger and more numerous if you limit weeds and fertilize the patch twice a year, once in late spring and again in early winter.

Begin by doing some serious weeding. Every time there is a drenching rain, go out and pull some weeds. Take pruning shears with you in drier weather and nip out the big weeds at the soil line. By fall you should see real progress. In early winter, after the fronds have been killed back by a hard freeze, clip them off and gather them up along with any weeds. Then blanket the bed with 2 to 3 inches of good compost or composted manure, topped off with some weed-free straw or chopped leaves.

In spring, as soon as you begin to see spears poking up through the mulch, make daily treks to your asparagus patch and gather up every spear. For the next six to eight weeks, gather spears at least every other day, regardless of whether they are 4, 6 or even 9 inches long. Stop harvesting when the largest of the spears is less than a half inch in diameter. When the harvest season ends, feed the patch a second time with a balanced organic fertilizer.

— Barbara Pleasant , contributing editor



Related Content

Plan Next Year's Garden Now

Plan fall cover crops to feed back the soil and leave the bed ready for when you need to plant the m...

Cover Crops and Compost Crops

Clean up your garden now and plant cover crops that will protect your garden soil through the winter...

Harvest Time: What's Your Fondest Memory?

Harvest time brings back memories for many of us. What do you remember about the harvest?

Strawberry Bliss

Springtime happiness can be measured by the sweetness of your strawberry patch.

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.