Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Asparagus - Preparing the bed for winter

Asparagus bed in fall

It's the end of the first year for my asparagus bed and time to prepare it for winter. This first year I did not harvest any of the shoots and let them all grow into tall ferns. The first order of business is to let the asparagus grow until the frost starts knocking it back and it turns yellow.

Cutting the asparagus fernsOnce it's turning yellow and starting to die back it's time to cut it down. I had my lovely assistant cut these off from 1-3 inches above the ground. It's very important to discard the ferns. If you have an asparagus beetle infection they will leave their eggs behind. We put the ferns into a wheelbarrow, took them to the burn pile and burned them up. This is the best way to take care of next years asparagus beetles.

Asparagus bed mulchedThe final treatment consists of mulching the bed. This will help keep the soil warm and is the first defense against weeds. I just used newly fallen leaves for this application. They are free and plentiful in my area and should do fine.

3 comments:

  1. My question to you is: "why do you do this to the asparagus when the wild asparagus you see along the road side do fine without all this care? I have not seen any bettles on the road side asparagus and it taste just as good as the asparagus I have in my garden. I do cut the yellow asparagus out but to ground level and pull the weeds, but I was just wondering about the wild asparagus along side of the road.

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  2. Because asparagus doesn't grow wild where I live.

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  3. We are an Asparagus Farm that specializes in 3 yr old crowns for home gardeners.
    Just cut the fern even with the soil. Don't leave stubs standing. The stubs become brittle over the winter and will get in the way when you harvest the following season.

    As for as mulch goes. In the wild Asparagus roots are not mulched. And you don't have to do it either. Now if you want less weeds to contend with then mulch.
    Sincerely,
    Andy
    http://www.asparagusgardener.com
    931-946-2039

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