From what I've read and my own experience with my beds, you can harvest
until the new growth is as big around as a pencil. At that point, stop
harvesting and let the plants grow into the ferns to regenerate the roots
for next year. Don't hesitate to fertilize with a good organic fertilizer
because they use a lot of energy in the spring sending up those big fat
shoots. After the first freeze the ferns will all die back and you can cut
them to the ground. We mulch with shredded leaves for the winter.
Depending on what zone you're in (I'm in zone 8) begin fertilizing in late
December or early January and I always add about 6-12" of compost to the
beds. They love that, and so do I because they reward me with big fat
stalks. Grilled and drizzled with butter and fresh lemon juice and some sea
salt is my preferred method, providing I can get them from the garden to the
kitchen without eating them raw.
On 4/19/05 9:55 PM, in article firstname.lastname@example.org,
The longer you can wait the stronger the plants will become and the more you
will have in the future. Leave a few and eat a few...that's what birds and
predatory insects do...leave enough for next years feast! Or you could be
like an insecticide and eat (kill) everything in sight...and leave nothing
for tomorrow or next year.
PS: I just happened to walk past my asparagus patch...I have enough to feed
the neighbours...well at least the ones that like asparagus! I think the
others had a mysterious upbringing. They only like carrots, peas
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