Asparagus bed

nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)December 7, 2013

Last year was the first year (I think) that I dumped bunches of leaves on the asparagus bed, and I ended up with asparagus beetle!
A couple of weeks ago, I cut back the gus, then sprayed with sevin, then covered with leaves.
I have quite a bit of compost almost ready to go.
Should I top the leaves with the compost? Since the bed is permanent, I need to add something because the soil level is dropping. I'm sure the leaves and compost will keep decomposing, so would it be a good idea to add some soil on top of the leaves and compost?
We are only about 2-3 months from the start of gus season! =) and I want to treat them right! Nancy

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

If the amount of organic matter in the soil is decreasing it can appear as if the soil level is dropping, shrinking. The main component of soil is the mineral portion, about 90 percent of soil, but organic matter is a necessary part of the mix and adds volume and increases the soils ability to hold moisture and air as well as provide necessary nutrients to plants growing in that soil.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 6:31AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

I would blend a little soil into that compost (50-50 or whatever you like) and layer it on the bed. Then use the leaves over top as a mulch. I like to put the most composted materials closest to the existing soil surface, then work up to completely un-composted mulch on top. If the leaves blow away you can reverse that, or put some pine needles or wood chips over them to hold them down. Just my 2 cents.

I love asparagus! Alas, not easy to grow in my clay.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 12:51PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

OK, it's not a huge bed (4x8), so I'll rake the leaves onto a tarp, put the compost/soil mix down then top it off with the leaves again.
Thanks, Nancy

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 8:35PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

As to your beetle problem, I don't know whether the extra mulch would have had anything to do with that or not. Doubtful that they came in with the leaves, but it's possible that there were a few there and they overwintered a bit better due to the mulch, and were able to have a bigger population the next year. I've heard you can wait until a hard freeze or two before mulching to help reduce insects. If your soil really needs the compost (asparagus is a heavy feeder, I think, so it does), then I'd put up with the beetles if they show up again and find some way to deal with them. Anything for fresh asparagus!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 10:31AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Well Tox...TIMING! We here in sunnyCA have been having a real (for us ) freeze, down into the teens and only into the 40-50s during the day!
We are in for a couple more 20's mornings, so I think I'll pull the leaves etc off for the duration of this freeze, then top it back off with compost/soil and leaves
I can only do the best that I can do! Nancy

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 9:27PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

I would love a 50-degree day. It hasn't been above freezing here for a week, and it's going down to 6 tonight. :-]

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 11:38AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Well, it doesn't help that our furnace is out! So it really IS a freeze for us! LOL We do have a wood stove, luckily, but I don't like to waste a fire on daytime unless it is raining too.
I'm finding a lot of reasons to go to the store, or even sit out in the garden while the sun is out to absorb the sun! Nancy

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 9:03PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Funny you should say that, our furnace is on the blink too, and we have a woodstove that's keeping us warm. our problem is intermittent, sometimes it fires up, sometimes not. :-\

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 12:02PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I wouldn't want to have furnace problems in zone 5! Brrrrr!!!! Especially the last couple of weeks!
Bundle up! Nancy P.S. Ours is temporarily fixed.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 9:04PM
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