Asparagus not producing - Knowledgebase Question

Gaithersburg, Ma
Question by katgue
June 30, 2010
I planted asparagus 3 yrs ago (purchased root stock that was 1yr. old). The first spring I had prolific shoots, though very thin. per the instructions I did not cut it. Last yr I had quite a few - I cut only a few. This yr I was expecting a similar crop and would be able to cut much of it. I have had almost none - 1 or 2 stalks and very thin - many small ones from seed outside the row.

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010


I'm sorry your yield has been disappointing. Asparagus requires organically rich soil and feeding. Have you been enriching it? Below are some care basics that may help.

First year: Weed the beds carefully. Periodically add more topsoil/manure around emerging shoots until the trench is filled. Then spread a 4-to 8-inch layer of mulch such as hay or leaves or a 3-to 4-inch layer of aged manure, compost, or shredded bark around the base of the asparagus ferns. Water regularly. In the early fall, pull back the mulch and side-dress with 2 1/2 pounds of a balanced fertilizer per 100 square feet. Cut down dead ferns in late fall and side-dress with 2 1/2 pounds phosphate fertilizer per 100 square feet.
Second year: Cultivate lightly by hand until the new spears are several inches tall. Keep the bed thickly mulched. Side-dress with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 at the rate of 2 1/2 pounds per 100 square feet in the spring and early fall. Follow first year instructions for late fall.
Third year and beyond: Maintain as for the second year, but apply the spring side-dressing after the harvest.

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