This is a special edition post by our friend, Dawn Crescitelli of Small Wonder Farm in NJ.
Here at Small Wonder Farm we have three types of perennial fruit (blueberry and raspberry) and vegetable (asparagus) beds to prepare. Today, I will be focusing on how to clean up and prep your asparagus beds.
First, carefully rake out your bed of left over frond pieces, seeds, and leaf debris. Clear off the debris from your row covers (if you have them) with a broom and large dust pan. You can also remove the stumpy old stems of last year’s asparagus from the garden bed. Only take the ones that are loose, do not pull or force an old stem out because this might damage the plant’s crown.
Next, weed the beds completely of ALL competing plants. Asparagus disdain competition. If not weeded, the asparagus will eventually be choked out and you will have to replant your bed which will waste precious time, energy and money. Asparagus beds can last for twenty-five years, so be prudent and take good care of them. After carefully removing all weeds dispose of them by taking them to the town compost.
Once the beds have been cleared of all the weeds, fertilize with an organic liquid vegetable fertilizer or side dress with a granulated organic vegetable fertilizer. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer container carefully. You should consult your local garden center for assistance if you are not familiar with organic vegetable fertilizers. Then cover the beds with straw (not hay) to suppress any left-over weed seeds from sprouting.
Then it is time to watch and wait for those fabulous spears to appear! Eat and enjoy!