Heirloom Expert: Growing Asparagus

Here are a few tips on growing asparagus, how to care for it and when the perfect time to harvest is.

asparagus cut

Harvest asparagus gently, especially when the bed is young.

Photo by Fotolia/volff

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I waited three long years to pick asparagus and now I’m seeing tall ferns and wonder when they should be cut down.

It’s important not to over harvest a “young” asparagus bed. Never cut any spears which are smaller in diameter than a pencil and stop harvesting after 6 to 8 weeks. Let the rest of spears turn into fronds and don’t cut them until they turn completely brown. Next spring just before you think they’ll emerge, throw a thin layer of compost on the bed. That will feed them every time it rains.