Sustainable Organic Gardening

Asparagus bed maintenance

It’s time to do winter maintenance of the asparagus bed: here’s how I did mine.

My two-year-old asparagus crowns were planted in July last year in a raised bed made from sleepers. To keep the chooks and brush turkeys off the bed, we put up a frame (made from poles of an old three-man tent) and threw over a Vege Net.

Asparagus bed is covered to keep out chooks and brush turkeys

From about September onward I picked any spear thicker than a pencil (I don’t think a single one made it as far as the kitchen!) and left thinner ones to grow into ‘ferns’ and perform photosynthesis to feed the crowns. The crowns should increase in diameter each year for up to twenty years and produce many more delicious spears.

The bantam brigade in the asparagus bed

The Vege Net may have prevented a few weed seeds settling as well – the weeds weren’t too scary when I removed the net this winter. I worked on removing the bigger weeds and then the feathered maintenance team arrived. Once the bantam brigade had taken care of the smaller weeds I cut the asparagus fronds at the base and dropped all the cut plant material on top of the crowns as mulch.

Weed the bed and cut down old asparagus stalks

Next step was to add some more mulch (dead leaves trimmed from the banana plants), manure (I used 3 bags of horse manure) and a few handfuls of Maxicrop Seaweed Plant Food. Back on with the net and that should be it until spring.

Add compost and mulch (eg. old banana leaves)

Add manure and complete organic fertiliser

I didn’t water the bed straight away, assuming that the rain would be along shortly (we are in south-east Queensland, after all) and I wasn’t disappointed! I’ll be keeping an eye out for the first glimpse of delicious spears in early September.

Spread it evenly and water well, if rain is not expected

Asparagus is a vegetable that rewards patience. A few years ago I visited my friends’ avocado orchard and extensive vegetable garden. Their 13 year-old asparagus patch was almost choked with 2-3 cm diameter spears all through the 2 m x 3 m bed. After a stroll around the garden, we steamed a couple of dozen freshly picked spears, drizzled over a balsamic vinegar dressing and enjoyed them with a glass of wine. Bliss!

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5 Responses to “Asparagus bed maintenance”

  • Naomi says:

    Hi Chook Whisperer
    I bought 5 x 2 year old crowns in winter 2013 from GH and didn’t pick any spears that year. I came across this post and followed your advice… However, I think I did it a bit too early, especially given the unseasonal warmth! I chopped them down in early May and covered with about 20 cm of mulch, manure and compost… But a few weeks later, three of the plants were sending up beautiful fat spears! I thought they were supposed to be dormant until spring! I cut and ate a few (delish!). They’ve grown now back to tall ferns.

    So my question is, do I now chop them back again and cover with more compost and manure, or just leave them?

  • dave driscoll says:

    Fall bed maintenance?


  • Chook Whisperer says:

    Hi Naomi,
    Better late than never! I would just leave them – don’t chop them back – and pick and eat the fat spears as usual.

  • Eric Florea says:

    That looks like my set up! I just ordered some shiitake mushrooms from and I’m really looking forward to making something great tonight. They go great with asparagus. Keep up the good work!!!

  • Kay says:

    I have never found a wine that goes with asparagus. What did you have?

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