When to Stop Harvesting Asparagus: The Lowdown

One of the tastiest and highly prized garden vegetables is asparagus. It’s a perennial vegetable, which is actually the first one you harvest in springtime!

After all, fresh asparagus is always on demand, and those who have a good asparagus harvest will be able to save a ton of money compared to buying it in the grocery. But, there’s a reason why it’s so pricey!

Unlike other vegetable crops, asparagus would take some patience in growing, as you won’t be able to harvest it until it’s surpassed the third year after planting. This would take knowledge and discipline, as spears would appear during the first and second year. If harvested too early, you’ll most likely kill the plants or stunt production for the next few years.

But if planted correctly then you can have an ongoing crop that provides fresh asparagus yearly. So it’s important to know when to harvest, but what about when to stop harvesting asparagus? Read on to find out!

when to stop harvesting asparagus

The Basics on Harvesting Asparagus

When it comes to harvesting asparagus, timing is everything, and you’ll need to harvest the crops at the correct stage. If you prolong the harvesting intervals, it would reduce the spear quality, with its tips loosening (also called “ferning out”) and the fiber developing at the spear base, causing it to be tough.

It’s fairly easy to harvest your asparagus, doing so come springtime when the spears appear. They should be harvested once they’re 6-10 inches above the soil line before their flower buds open up. Simply cut or snap off your spears from the ground level.

When to Stop Harvesting Asparagus

As for stopping harvesting, you may continue harvesting asparagus for up to eight weeks, but don’t surpass July 1! This is the basic rule of thumb for most areas.

However, the length of harvesting does depend on your area’s air temperature and climate. Another indicator of when to stop harvesting asparagus is when the diameters of up to ¾ of all your spears become smaller, usually less than 3/8th of an inch, or even ¼ inch of a diameter, which is about the thickness of pencils. The large ferns grow from remaining spears, with ferns using photosynthesis so the plant received food for another large harvest next year.

Also, if you ever notice a decrease in production and vigor from the asparagus plants, then stop harvesting even if it is before July 1. Instead, allow them to rest and store energy for the next growing and harvesting season, which would be next year. Spears that reached heights of over 10 inches should just continue growing so they can build their root system and energy for next year as well.

If the number of spears during harvest drops by 15-16 pickings or more, then end the harvest early. Again, spears need to be allowed to grow come harvesting season. The shoots have to grow into mature fern to recharge their crowns for net harvesting seasons.

By doing this, as well as proper care for your asparagus plants, you’re ensured that you have a healthy harvest of fresh asparagus for around 15 years or so. Remember to amend your soil and fertilize the plants regularly even between harvesting seasons to keep your plants growing well.

Do you want to learn more about harvesting asparagus properly? This helpful video can show you how to harvest your asparagus for better harvesting in the future:

Wrapping It Up

I know how confusing it must be trying to care for asparagus plants, especially when it comes to harvesting. But once you get it right and know the ropes, you won’t be sorry for the long wait! Be sure to harvest them at the right time and know when to stop harvest so you won’t have to worry about spear growth during the fall to the winter season.

I hope that this article on when to stop harvesting asparagus helped you out! So don’t wait any longer and begin learning more about asparagus and how to care for them correctly.

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