Saturday 3 November 2018

Tucking up the asparagus for the winter

It’s worth spending time and effort with asparagus. It is a rather special crop to enjoy each year in late spring and early summer. Asparagus is also a ‘permanent crop’ and the asparagus bed will be in place for many years to enjoy. Its such a reliable vegetable. 

All this means the asparagus bed needs to be maintained well to keep the plants strong and productive. Part of this includes keeping the weeds at bay, above all preventing any pernicious weeds establishing themselves. It pays not to neglect the bed once the asparagus season comes to an end in June.

After a day of heavy rain, temporarily saturating our otherwise dry soil, it was time to prepare the asparagus bed for winter. The yellowing fronds were pruned down to the ground. Next the bed was weeded. This was easily accomplished with just a few annual weeds to pull out. The ridges along which the crowns were planted were renovated by drawing up fresh soil with a draw hoe. The vital addition, and main part of winter preparation, was applying a thick layer of bulky compost along each row. 

Finally, I used the roughly chopped up asparagus fronds as a mulch between the rows. This is an idea I picked up from one of Charles Dowding’s admirable No Dig You Tube videos. It is after all a no dig crop in essence. It seemed a good use of the asparagus prunings and will help contribute to suppressing any weeds that might otherwise take their chance popping up in the asparagus bed.

The cropping season (late April to early June) might seem a long way off, but good preparation at this time of the year will be heartily rewarded.

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