Asparagus -- bed preparation yearlong

mbat(6)November 3, 2012

Have a fairly successful asparagus bed, four years old now, but have never been sure what to do from season to season. In terms of how to prepare it for winter, for spring, how to mulch it, etc. Have some female-plants (with seeds): should I pull these out? Any tips would be welcome.

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ltilton

Don't forget to fertilize. Asparagus is a heavy feeder and needs potash to grow its roots. I like to do a fall feeding.

Soon will be the right time in your zone to cut down the ferns. This exposes the ground and lets you attack any weeds that have taken hold.

These two tasks should be done before any mulching.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:27AM
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jonfrum(6)

Two inches of composted cow manure would be a nice addition.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 2:02PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree. Once the ferns are brown and dead mow them down, weed the bed well, fertilize and water it well, mulch heavily. Early spring fertilize and water well. Once you quit harvesting, fertilize again and keep it well watered and as weed free as possible through the summer.

If you have a dry winter it never hurts to water the bed well once every couple of weeks or so.

Dave

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:42PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I'm going to cover the bed heavily with paper (to try to get rid of the yellow oxillis hopefully!), then some old horse manure, then a 4" pile of chopped up leaves. Nancy

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 12:42AM
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planatus(6)

I have a couple of female plants in a bed of J Knight seedlings, and I strip off the berries in summer, or sometimes cut off the berry-bearing fronds. For me, those females are happy, productive plants!

Right now my bed is bare except for cut stubs and the chickens have been cleaning it for a week. Soon it will get some wood ashes, compost and a deep winter mulch.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:04AM
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mbat(6)

Appreciate all the help so far. But planatus or anyone, are you saying then that I should not let the seeds fall on the ground and grow?? Will such plants not be productive?

Looking forward to all of your advice and suggestions.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:00AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I should not let the seeds fall on the ground and grow?? Will such plants not be productive?

Sure you can if you wish and some will germinate as very shallow plants. But the potential problems with the bed increase - over-crowding, less and smaller production over time, and increased asparagus beetles as they are attracted to the female plants and berries.

Some do and some don't. Your choice.

Dave

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:59AM
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skagit_goat_man_(WA)

Fall is also the time of year you would lime if it's needed. I quit winter mulching because the voles moved in and damaged the crowns.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:28AM
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jonfrum(6)

If you've spaced your plants at the proper distance, I wouldn't let any more start from seed. Just cut them down and give the soil a boost. Then you're done.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:16AM
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