Asparagus advice

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by dweeks, May 30, 2009.

  1. dweeks

    dweeks Member

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    Location:
    Bloomington, Illinois
    we live in central Illinois. Several years ago we put in a moderate sized asparagus bed. Due to "family issues" it was basically then ignored for 3 or 4 years. It now produces asparagus like crazy. We did cut some earlier this year, but are now "behind" again, and I'm looking at the bed wondering what I should do.

    It's May 30th, and my asparagus bed is about 3 feet wide, 12 feet long, and 6 feet tall with asparagus (and weeds). What shold I do to get this back under control? Should I mow/weed-eat it down to the ground now and cut asparagus if/as it comes up through the summer? Should I leave it alone till next year? Should I mow/weed-eat and keep it cut all of this summer?

    We are trying to be better about harvesting the aspargus, but not sure exactly what to do right now. Help?

    THANKS!
     
  2. Durgan

    Durgan Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Brantford,Ontario, Canada
    After picking the shoots, the bed is left to produce ferns to supply energy for next year's shoots. Don't cut it down.You bed is relatively small compared to commercial growers, but reasonable for the home garden.. This means you could put on a pair of good knee pads and remove the weeds by hand and sort of stir up the top soil of the bed. Then lay a good layer of mulch if you have some to keep moisture and inhibit the weeds.
     
  3. dweeks

    dweeks Member

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    Thanks for the help. Two follow up questions:

    1 - So when next year do we start and stop cutting and eating the asparagus? I feel like we quit too early this year (because of circumstances).

    2 - If I go out and weed and mulch as you suggest, that leaves a BUNCH of 6+ foot tall ferning plants. What happens to those next year? Do I need to cut them down at some point, or do they die out on their own, or what?

    Thanks! (my wife was in charge of this bed before, and now that I'm taking it over I don't know what the heck I'm doing, as you can tell :)
     
  4. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    1. Start cutting and eating it when it sprouts up in the spring, and stop sometime in late July / early August.
    2. You cut them down at the end of the fall, allowing the little red berries to fall back into the patch (shake the ferns) - this reseeds the patch and prepares you for mulching for the winter.
     
  5. Durgan

    Durgan Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    A little bit of a problem here.

    You only cut the shoots from early Spring say May to about 15 of June. Then let the plants grow. The vegetation will get large for sure, and this is desirable. Actually the ferns are quite attractive.

    In the Fall the vegetation will die back and can be cut to the ground if desired sometime during the Winter season. The plants produces shoots from the root stock, and there is never a desire for seedlings to grow, unless the bed requires enlargement. In fact, the researchers are producing asparagus which will not produce seed, and growers want only males plants of the conventional type of asparagus. I grow Millennium which has no seed pods.
     
  6. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I used to do this in Edmonton and ate shoots until late July with no ill effects to my patch; I had about the same area planted as Dweeks.
     
  7. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, usa
    We cut from our patch until the shoots coming up begin getting small in diameter. At that point, usually June some time, we let the shoots grow to renew the energy in the roots. We also find the flavor is not as good as summer comes on. We cut the stalks to the ground sometime in winter, then fertilize and add compost in early spring before the shoots start again. Keeping the bed weeded is also important; one thorough weeding when we fertilize/compost, then periodically through the year.
     
  8. Helen Leung

    Helen Leung Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm the same with Terry. We stop harvesting the shoots once it's smaller then a pencil. Let the fern grow and keep it weed free. I used spent coffee ground from Starbucks and dried grass clippings as mulch.
     

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