How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Harvesting and preparing asparagus

To harvest spears, use a sharp knife and cut the stem at an angle just below the soil line. Prior to cooking, snap the spear where it will break cleanly, then discard the lower portion and use only the tender tips. Asparagus is best eaten fresh. However, it does freeze well for longer storage.

Some gardeners like the gourmet white asparagus. White asparagus is not a variety but is the green asparagus grown without the presence of light. The process is called "blanching." Blanching is done by covering the asparagus bed with heaps of shredded leaves or loose mulch or covering the bed with black plastic. These materials prevent light from reaching the plant as they emerge from the soil and thus the spears remain white. If exposed to light, the spears will become green.

Harvesting tips

1st year: Do not harvest any spears

2nd year: During the second season, harvest the spears for a period of 3 to 4 weeks only; if the fern growth was weak the first year, then harvest even less. After the cutting period is over, allow the ferns to grow.

Later years: During the third year and the years thereafter, cut spears daily or every other day for a period of 8 to 10 weeks; then allow the ferns to develop for the remainder of the growing season. If the spears become small and spindly, harvest for a shorter reason; this indicates that the plants are weakening from overcropping.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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