Thin asparagus stalks

by Jane
(Warren, Pa. USA)

My mother has had an asparagus bed for years. The stalks seem to be getting thinner and thinner. What could be causing this?
Thanks for your time. Sincerely, Jane Lefever

Comments for Thin asparagus stalks

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 11, 2009
Rules for growing asparagus and thick spears
by: Old Timer

No disrespect for your mom's age, but she might have had her asparagus bed in a long time. There are a few tried and true rules with growing asparagus, such as:

1. An asparagus plant, or crown last about 25 years then it grows old and it's time to replace it.
2. When first planting, don’t pick any spears the first year, pick one meal the second year, two meals the third year and from them on pick spears for 8 weeks each season. (This means the remaining asparagus stalks are left to go to the ferny leaf stage for photosynthesizing and providing energy for the next year’s growth).
3. Each asparagus plant should produce about 25 spears per season.
4. An asparagus bed should be deeply richly composted to begin with, and each year topped up with a thick layer of compost, plus fertilizer added, such as blood and bone or a good organic mix.
5. They must have plenty of water once the shoots appear in early spring. This keeps them growing fast with thin skin and delicate flavor.

They are my best all time vegetable to eat, I just can't get enough of that flavor!

Jun 08, 2010
by: Maureen

I have had Asparagus for years and thaught that i couldn't eat it as it always goes to ferns. Is it now feasable to start feeding it more and picking and eating the spears? The plant is about 10 years old.It seems to produce quite a few spears before the ferns.

Jun 09, 2010
Feeding asparagus plants
by: Megan

I don't understand why you would have asparagus growing if you don't eat it! By all means you can harvest the spears for several months if your plants are 10 years old.

That said, asparagus needs feeding and watering to produce quality spears, so pile on the compost and give plenty of water and enjoy. Any and all spears you don't pick will go to fern, so pick them before the spears start to shoot up and open up.

Jun 24, 2011
thin asparagus stalk
by: Mike

I planted two year old crowns this spring (May 1). The plants that came up are very thin and ferny and are easily blown over in the wind. It is now late June, and the plants do not seem to get wider than a quarter inch, and are currently about 16-20 inches tall. Is this normal?

May 13, 2013
Old asparagus bed, but skinny spears this year??
by: Terri

Hi there...

For some reason, my 12 year old asparagus bed is putting out only skinny spears this year.

It seems like weird things are happening with plants and weather lately..

May 22, 2013
Thin and thick asparagus spears
by: Anonymous

I have 3 beds of asparagus that came with our house. The house was empty for 3 year before we moved in, and this is our second spring in the house, so I'm assuming the plants are at least 5 years old. Last year the spears were pencil thin to finger thick. This year I have one bed of very thin spears, one bed of finger thick spears, and one bed of carrot thick spears. All of the beds were over grown with grass last year and I started pulling the grass out by hand. The thickest spears have the most grass coverage. Does the amount of grass have anything to do with the size of the spears?

Thanks for any feedback!

May 12, 2015
2 spears came out from the crown
by: Anonymous

I planted my asparagus plant last year, i thought it will never come back. But this morning I saw 2 little tiny thin fern spears. I hope it will be more next year. I planted 2 crowns fyi

May 01, 2017
Thin spears during harvest
by: An Gabbyonymous

Question? During harvest to I pick, cut, or leave skinny asparagus shoots?

May 03, 2017
Skinny spears during harvest
by: Rose

my bed is 6 years and strong...but I still get thin spears. I think they are the new ones from husband thinks they are the male plants. Should I leave them during my reg harvest so the roots gain strength for next year, or pick them. ( let them go to fern in amongst the others??)

May 05, 2017
How to get thick asparagus spears
by: ~ Megan

It's best to grow only male asparagus plants as female plants go to seed and produce lots of small red berries that can get scattered around and grow unwanted new plants. Unlike male plants with nice thick spears, female asparagus spears are plentiful but skinny, so pull them out roots and all.

Remember asparagus are greedy and will not produce healthy large spears unless you give them a top-up before they sprout in spring of at least a hand width of good compost, or fertiliser and woodchips or straw each year.

If your asparagus plants are still only a year or so old and definitely male plants, leave any skinny spears to grow, they will help your plants to build up growth so that next year they will produce thicker spears.

Re grass growing on top... It may have helped by keeping the soil a bit warmer for the asparagus underneath, or maybe the grass grew where it did because it was a fertile area, and so the fertility helped the asparagus also.

More expert information here on growing asparagus.

May 21, 2018
I like thin asparagus spears
by: Mike

I have purple passion asparagus I planted them 5 years ago.
But they have been coming up very thick. What can I do to get thin spears.

May 28, 2018
Thick purple asparagus
by: ~ Megan

Mike, I don't know! Maybe someone else will chip in?
But both thick and thin spears taste the same, the best tip is to look for tight tips when picking, don't let your spears start to open, they will not taste so sweet. Pick each day if you can. Some people like thin spears, some thick, but honestly in all taste tests, there's supposedly no difference. Many plants shoot up all sized spears from the same crown. Each crown has buds, and each bud sends out a separate spear.
As the growing season comes to an end and there's less picking of spears, you may find they are thinner, because they have run out of energy after going gungho at first.
Me, I like nice fat asparagus, and chefs do too for certain dishes, such as for steaks. The pencil spears are more popular for salads and stir-frys. M

May 31, 2018
Asparagus plants
by: Anonymous

I have just moved into a property last August and we cut down a bush early in March this year and I have discovered asparagus growing in the bush there must be about 20 or so shoots but all have grown to a foot plus tall and have fern shoots now at the top, I’ve read I should be cutting them back but I don’t know how old these are ?? Help please

Jul 03, 2018
Asparagus male or female plants
by: ~ Megan

Have a read of the page on growing asparagus, growing asparagus then once your plants are bigger, see if they're male or female. It could be that they are just seedlings from female plants — which you don't want, as they don't produce good spears, so out with them quickly before they spread more seeds.
You don't say if these plants are in a veg plot or just wild in the bush? Hopefully if you find you have male plants, let them be, then when they die down later, give them a good feed over winter for a better spring crop next season. Of course if they're really old, they need replacing, but time will show you what to do.

Dec 19, 2018
Thin asparagus
by: Peter

Hi, I have had a few of asparagus plants now for a maybe 5 years. The plants always grow tall and very thin. I am cosidering removing them because they do not provide edable plants.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Vegetable Growing Problems.

Garden Gift Hub is one of the most thoughtful and interesting places on the web to find original and useful gardening and nature inspired products.

Contact | Home