Summer asparagus

Asked August 28, 2017, 6:11 PM EDT

I’ve had asparagus spears show up periodically in late summer. Can these be harvested without any detriment to long term plant health? As you probably know spears are cold sensitive and I find them also easily damaged by hail.

Pennington County South Dakota

2 Responses

I cant find any research on late season Asparagus picking - but its probably just best to leave them.

One of the most important aspects of having a healthy and productive asparagus patch is to allow the asparagus spears to grow up with their ferny foliage from late spring until the foliage freezes in the fall. During this time, the leaves and stems are photosynthesizing to manufacture carbohydrates to store in their roots and crowns to get the plants through the winter and produce a bountiful crop of thick healthy spears next spring. If your patch has been productive and has many large stems with healthy foliage now, it probably would not hurt to remove a few for a meal, if you see some growing up at this time of year. However, the flavor and texture will likely not be as good at this time of year. If your patch has not been that productive and many of the spears have been less than the diameter of a pencil in size, I would agree that you should not cut any spears now but rather let them grow up to help increase stored food reserves for next season.