Archive for April, 2014

Asparagus – 25 Years Old and Going Strong

Sunday, April 6th, 2014
Asparagus Bed

Asparagus Bed

This is my asparagus, which I planted in 1989.  The picture was taken just before I cut down the stalks from last season’s growth.  A lot of gardeners cut their stalks back in the fall, but I’ve read several sources which say it makes more sense to let the stalks keep growing and feeding the roots as long as possible.  I normally cut the stalks back in March, but this March was too cold to want to do anything in the garden, so it didn’t happen until the first warm day of April.

Kama and Kneeler

Kama and Kneeler

In the past I’ve used pruning loppers to cut the roots back, but a few years ago I switched to chopping them off with my kama.  It makes the job lots faster and easier.  The cuts are more ragged than they would be with the loppers, but I haven’t noticed any problems with yields or plant health.

Asparagus Bed Prepared for 2014

Asparagus Bed Prepared for 2014

After cutting down all the stalks, I cleaned out any weeds and added ten gallons of compost.  Here’s the bed all smoothed out and awaiting this year’s harvest, which should start showing up very soon.

If I were to do this again, I would make the bed one foot narrower.  The bed is four feet wide across the top and just a little too wide for easy access.  Three feet across the top of raised beds proves over and over to me to be the ideal width.

Other than weeding and cutting back the previous years growth, asparagus is a pretty maintenance free crop, especially when you factor in its longevity.  It is important to keep it well weeded or grass will choke out and kill the plants.

Asparagus Roots

Asparagus Roots

The roots have wandered a little in the 25 years they have been in the bed.  Here are a few that have found their way to the edge of the bed and into the aisle.

Asparagus fresh from the garden is delicious and it looks like we’ll be enjoying this bed for several more years to come.