Preparing asparagus for winter???

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Gresford, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. Gresford

    Gresford Well-Known Member

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    I just purchased a home in June and the previous owners loved asparagus. As I write this we have 2 raised beds with very healthy asparagus prawns. I would like to have a harvest next year. How do I put the asparagus to bed for the winter without killing it? Should I just clip it or is there something else that I should do.

    Thanks!
     
  2. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    You can either cut the dead fronds or leave them . We wait till frost and mow ours. You can also mulch with compost and leaves if you want too. Asparagus is very hardy.
    Linda
     

  3. beehoppers

    beehoppers Well-Known Member

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    After the first frost, I cut the asparagus near soil level with loppers a stack to the side. I then take a sharp shovel and cut below soil level. Hollow stalks can allow a borer down to the crown over the winter. Then I add some lime and 3 inches of compost, grind the stalks and spread back. In March, I'll add a pound of ice cream salt per 100 sq. ft.
     
  4. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    Why the salt?
     
  5. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    salt is for weed control, but if you have them near other plants, it might be a bad idea to use it.
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Best to remove the foliage to cut down on survival of the asparagus beetles that winter over in it.

    Asparagus likes soil close to and a bit into the alkaline stage, 6.5 to 7.2 being ideal. Lime would maintain that range.

    Martin
     
  7. beehoppers

    beehoppers Well-Known Member

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    The salt? Not for weeds. Asparagus is a salt marsh plant. Adding this much salt seems to really help it grow and keeps it healthy. I picked this up from the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening:
    "For healthy asparagus, add sodium chloride rock salt (NaCl) to beds more than one year old. Apply 2.5 lb. per 100' row either before spears appear or around July 4. Research shows this treatment helps asparagus resist crown and root rot diseases caused by Fusariom fungi and also improves overall growth. Don't use iodized table salt or rock salt made with calcium chloride (CaCl). Pickling salt, however, is fine for the job" 1997 page 38.
     
  8. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i guess weed control is a happy side effect. :)
     
  9. debbiebofjc

    debbiebofjc Well-Known Member

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    What about epsom salts?

    I have some asparagus I want to move (doesn't do well where it is).
    Should I do it now? or maybe wait till after frost?
     
  10. beehoppers

    beehoppers Well-Known Member

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    Meloc, I wish the salt helped with weeds. Not at all! The guy from You Bet Your Garden, Mike McGraf claims the salt runs the worms off. That's not true in my experience. It's not a lot of salt but makes a huge difference.
     
  11. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    a friend salts his asparagus bed every year and his is weed free. lots of stuff doesn't like salt and that's why i am careful not to use it on my bed. my bed sits close to rhubarb, horseradish and a flower bed. salt likes to move with water so i don't want to turn any other beds into a barren, salty wasteland. of course, my friend tosses so much rock salt that it looks like half an inch of snow!

    my asparagus has responded well to one thing in particular...weeding. it was in competition with the horseradish and weeds like burdock and curly dock. once i dug those out from beside my asparagus, it started spreading like crazy.
     
  12. beehoppers

    beehoppers Well-Known Member

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    I guess your friend uses a lot more salt than I do or his soil is different from mine. I rotate crops around both sides of the asparagus and have no problems.
    The next thing I'm going to try is to lasagna mulch half the asparagus to help deal with the weeds.
     
  13. elkwc

    elkwc Well-Known Member

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    I just mow the dead stalks after they die. I add a little manure on top of the old mulch, some cottonseed meal cover with another layer of mulch and they have done fine for many years. They are the easiest crop to grow. I water if it is real dry in the summer. Also if we have a dry fall will water well in late Oct or early Nov.. Jay
     
  14. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Rather than salt, apply potash. As I recall, 5-5-30 was the fertilizer for tobacco and asparagus around here. Now I see that a fertilizer high in potassium is what's recommended for establishing a bed.

    Martin