Aspargus - Knowledgebase Question

commerce city, Co
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Question by beckysavage
June 30, 2010
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?

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010
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.

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