Asparagus

I just read jobs for this weekend and it said that I should cut asparagus's ferny foliage down to ground level.  I planted my first ever 4 asparagus roots in spring and they grew ferny, thin, weedy shoots that I staked because they wouldn't stand by themselves.

I'm new to asparagus but do know that it takes a couple of years to get established (which is why it was one of the first things to go in in my new garden - only been here a year).  Considering they are new plants, does this advice apply?  Should you cut back the ferny foliage in its first year?

Glad of guidance, thanks.

Posts

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,149

    I'd love to know the answer myself. I've been trying to grow asparagus for years. I began with 10 crowns, next year I had 8, then 5, then 2 and I'm left with one. I've tried both cutting down and leaving. And still they die on me.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • I cut mine down to about 3 inches above the ground and cover with a thick covering of garden compost. This does the trick for me, and can be done to your new plants from the first year. It is also important to keep the bed as free of weeds as you can, and only weed by hand as otherwise you can damage the crown. Good luck.

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,149

    Mine are on a sunny bank but the soil is rather limy. Is that why they die?

     

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,730

    Let the ferns "die off" - turn brown - before you cut them back. It usually takes some properly cold weather to turn them brown. Cut them down to a couple of inches, remove every weed you can find, mulch well with organic material. I also incorporate some chook-poo pellets or similar.

     

  • My soil is heavy clay, neutral pH. The rotting down of the compost should release some acids, so maybe if you put lots on, they will negate the lime effect. You can but try. Sometimes things just don't go to plan. This year I have had tons of tomatoes, but very few cucumbers, no obvious reason why. Possibly nature's way of making you trynew things. 

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,177

    Got it, wait for cold weather to turn them brown, weed carefully but thoroughly, cut them to about 3" and mulch with my compost for the winter.  The man at the nursery told me to go deep, as deep as I could dig with them.  I have a little hill down the bottom of the garden made from an old compost heap so I went deep to the sunny side of it.  I also read while researching that over time you may need to pile up the soil on the crown.  I feel like I'm off to a good start, thanks everyone.

  • Good luck, and in time, I hope you get that thrill when the wee darlings start to stick their noses through the soil. image

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