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.


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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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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