6

When harvesting asparagus, I keep hearing that you are supposed to "break it off at ground level" and that it snaps real easily. What precisely does that mean? Usually it snaps a half inch below or above ground level, and sometimes ain't as easy to snap as people make it sound.

It also leaves little stems there that seem to just die (wasting plant energy?) and occupy space where new shoots could come up, even a year or two later.

Instead, I find I can gently twist the the asparagus and they pop right out. Here's what twisting them out looks like when harvested:

Here's what twisting them out looks like when harvested

Does pulling the white part out damage the plant or reduce growth?

(I just cut the white off before eating or cooking it.)

9

You don't have to snap or break them - I've seen it being harvested in the fields here in the UK, and all the people doing the job have a knife. They cut right at the base of suitably sized spears, just above the fibrous root matter, using a very sharp knife so as to cause as little disturbance to the roots as possible.

I'd recommend you do the same, frankly, pulling and twisting will cause some disruption to the remains of the plant. I've no idea if what you've been doing will have a deleterious effect on your plants, but I'd stop doing it immediately, since the aim seems to be to cause as little disturbance to the plants as possible, see here, under harvesting

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