We are now in our 3rd season since planting Asparagus. And, since we planted starts that were already through a complete season, it's technically season number 4 for these plants.
Last year, we got enough sprouts for one meal. Yes, it was quite tasty, but clearly just a tease for what is to come. We look forward to the years in the future when this Asparagus bed will feed us multiple meals each spring.
While we debated how many of the sprouts to harvest last year, it's my opinion that we were a bit too conservative. In order to get the bed to mature, it's important to let some go to fern - but I think we may have taken that a bit far. It was an Asparagus jungle!
On 3/10/13, I finally decided to look up a bit more information about when and how to trim back the ferns from the prior year. It can be a bit confusing, as much of this information is derived from various message boards, where any yahoo can voice their opinion. After a bit of research, I concluded that a majority of gardeners recommend clipping the ferns down at the end of the season - after the plants have turned brown and dried.
But, what do you do in Colorado, when we were still harvesting Lettuce and Spinach until December 7 last year?
Arguably, the Asparagus seccumbed to the frosts in November, but we really didn't have a good hard freeze until well into December. And, by that time, we were busy with many other things unrelated to the garden. It wasn't until March that I thought about it again!
So, I clipped the stalks down to about 6" above the soil line, and called it good. Looking at the stalks, there wasn't any green in them. They were completely dried out, and rather stiff. I used clippers usually reserved for trimming small bush and tree branches to get through it, as bypass clippers were not doing the job well.
At this point, we are just watering the bed once a week to help these Asparagus sprouts find their way to the surface as soon as possible. We just can't wait for some tasty Asparagus this spring!