Asparagus in autumn

As soon as asparagus foliage has dried off, cut off stems to a few centimetres above soil level. The yellowish-brown colour of asparagus stems means that the plants have withdrawn nutrients and carbon compounds into their crowns to provide energy for new spring growth. Cutting back the stems while they are still green will gradually weaken the plants, and reduce the number of asparagus spears in coming seasons.
After cutting back the stems, remove any weeds from the bed, apply a generous drink of seaweed extract tea to the bed, and add a dusting of dolomite or agricultural lime. Asparagus are heavy feeders with a high nitrogen requirement. Give the bed a 3-5 cm layer of mature compost, or a 2 cm layer of worm castings, or a generous application of poultry-based organic complete fertiliser and a 3 cm layer of aged manure. Then cover the bed with a 5 cm layer of fluffed-up organic mulch. Fluffing the mulch allows rain and irrigation to trickle through to the soil. That done, apart from an occasional watering in during dry spells, you can leave nature to do its thing until spears start to poke their heads above ground in spring.

4 thoughts on “Asparagus in autumn

  1. Can I use woodchips (from gum or wattle trees) to mulch the asparagus bed? Thanks
    Not a good idea, Anna. Asparagus would do better with a mulch that breaks down in a year or less to replace organic content in soil. Wood chips take a long time to break down and will draw nitrogen from the soil during the process. Asparagus need fairly high levels of nitrogen for growth. Some Eucalyptus species contain a lot of tannins that can slow the growth of other plants.
    Wood chips over weed mat are better used for slower growing decorative parts of the garden.

  2. I live in Brisbane, and am not convinced mine actually go brown… I cut off the ferns of some about a month ago and more grew, they are all still green though – even those that I didn’t cut off?
    Donna, you probably have your plants in an area where it doesn’t get cool enough for them to become completely dormant. Ours occasionally do this. The weather cools and they start to brown, then we get a warm spell and they think winter is over, and we get a new batch of shoots. If you live where it is too warm for full dormancy, you have to be careful not to over-harvest the spears or it will weaken the plants and they won’t live as long. – Lyn

  3. Thankyou for the asparagus tip Lyn, I thought I killed the purple asparagus plants when I looked at them yesterday,now I know that I did nothing wrong it’s just winter creeping in 🙂

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