Asparagus Winterizing Questions... HELP?

missemerald(7 (Virginia))November 15, 2009

This is my first year with asparagus. Bought and planted 2nd year crowns early in the spring... one row of male Jersey Giants and one of Mary Washington. The Jerseys grew like crazy (do they have seeds? some have little round red things on them) but the MWs are not. Jersey had lots of growth, slender and plentiful stalks, very robust; MW is spindly and not at all productive. Anyway, what do I do to winterize them, now that the stalks are turning yellow? I have not cut anything from them to date (except for a few fronds for a floral arrangement earlier this summer). Do I cut them to the ground or not? Cover them with something or...? And, since I brought 2nd year crowns, does that mean that I can harvest a few next spring or do I continue to wait for another year? Thanks!

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marlingardener

Sounds like you have done everything right so far. Yes, asparagus has seeds, at least the female plants do. Winterizing is easy--we are in Central Texas 8b, so our conditions are similar to yours. After the stalks turn completely yellow, cut them off about 2" from the ground (this is so you can tell where to look for growth next spring), and mulch with chopped up leaves or hay or compost.
In the spring, when growth just starts, fertilize. Then fertilize again in late spring, and again in mid-summer. Asparagus is a hearty eater!
You should be able to harvest a few next spring. Use your own judgement as to how big the stalks are and how many there are. If the growth seems sufficient to you, enjoy!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 7:54AM
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tcstoehr

Jersey Giants should not have seeds on them. The little round, red berries are seeds and rob the plant of energy it should be using to make more, bigger, yummier asparagus spears. I'm not sure, but I think the Jersey all-male hybrids aren't really *all* male, but like 90%. I'm not sure of that though. In any case, if anywhere near half of your Jersey Giant plants are making berries, I'd think they were not Jersey Giants. If there's only one or two, you might consider tearing them out and replacing next year. Depending on how fanatical you want to be.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 12:40PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

marlin, I had been told that we're too far south to grow asparagus. How long have you had yours? What variety? How many crowns would you recommend to plant for table use and to freeze? I am so excited to hear that someone grows my favorite vegetable in the Deep South!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 8:40PM
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marlingardener

Donna,
We have had asparagus for 13 years--11 at our first Texas garden, and 2 here on the farm. We planted 30 crowns of Jersey Supreme the first year here, and then added 30 more the second year. They were two-year crowns, and we harvested lightly this fall for the first time in this garden.
I wouldn't know how many crowns to recommend that you plant, not knowing how many you plan to feed from your planting. Our asparagus bed is intended to feed the two of us and have plenty to freeze.
We have found that planting deeply, fertilizing three times during the growing season, and mulching heavily really helps the asparagus grow. It is truly a delicious treat!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 9:13PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks for the tips! I will be digging a bed this winter!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 5:21PM
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