When to quit cutting asparagus?

catherinet(5 IN)April 30, 2009

Hi all,

We used to stop cutting too soon in the season, so I'm cutting more now. But how do I know when to stop and let it grow?

Thanks

P.S. This is an old bed

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

4 weeks is the usual time frame. Or until the majority of the new shoots are just pencil thick. The 4 week limit has always worked well for us with our old beds.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 5:46PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I've always heard 6-8 weeks. I do 6.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 6:39AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

So the thinness of the stalks is a good indicator?
If I have some that have come up from the start thin, does that mean that individual plant is struggling, and maybe I shouldn't cut those particular ones at all this year?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:51AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

If I have some that have come up from the start thin, does that mean that individual plant is struggling, and maybe I shouldn't cut those particular ones at all this year?

No, it just means it is a stalk from a newer part of the ever expanding crown. Just let any pencil-thin stalks go to fern and harvest only the thicker stalks. If you see nothing but pencil-thin stalks or a heavy majority of them feed the bed an extra feeding as that can be a signal that the bed is low on nutrients.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:10AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:41AM
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skagit_goat_man_(WA)

I stop cutting spears when they start becomming less than 1/2" in diameter. In a 11 yr old bed this is about 7 weeks of cutting. Tom

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 8:57PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks sakgit goat man,
Okay here's another question, sort of the reverse. We have another bed that we planted 2 years ago. I heard that we shouldn't cut much from that bed until maybe next year. But this year, its putting out a bunch of really thick stalks.
Does the thickness indicate that its doing so good that we should feel okay about cutting more of them?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:29PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I'm bumping this up, since it went to the 2nd page. I'm hoping I'll get one more answer to my last question.
Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 11:14PM
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hercules(PA 6a)

Everyone I know follows the guidelines published by (among others) Jersey Asparagus Farms. They are:

- 2 weeks the second season
- 4 weeks the third season
- 6 to 8 weeks the fourth and following years

Additionally, cut everything larger than a pencil. When 3/4 of the emerging spears are smaller than this, stop. Harvesting in this manner actually encourages growth.

This has worked nicely for me for 8 seasons, and the bed today is very, very productive.

Hope this is helpful.

Hal in PA

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:56AM
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skagit_goat_man_(WA)

I cut everything 1/2" diameter or larger. The early years will not have a lot of these but nothing's hurt by cutting them. Since different crown spacing affects the spear size I'll note that mine are 12" oc. Tom

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 8:32AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks hercules and skagit goat man!
I really appreciate your help.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 9:07AM
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hercules(PA 6a)

catherinet:

You're quite welcome. It's always nice when a poster makes the effort to acknowledge those trying to help a little. So, thank you, too!

Best wishes for a happy, healthy 'gus bed...hopefully for many years to come!

Hal in PA

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 5:21PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hal.....thanks for thanking me for thanking you. lol!
I see you're from PA. I grew up in western PA (New Castle and Sharon). Are you anywhere near there? Haven't been there for a long time, but have good memories of PA in the 50's.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:16PM
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