|I planted aspargus in our garden last year. I know that it will return each year, but should I be trimming it back at all or at the end of the season?|
|Basics care guidelines follow. You can substitute organic fertilizers if you prefer.
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.
Plants started from crowns can be harvested lightly in the spring of the second year; plants started from seeds in the third year.
Harvest only those spears that are thicker than a pencil.
Cut off the spears at or just above ground level when they are 6 to 8 inches tall.