Q. I have a raised bed (5 x 10 feet) dedicated to asparagus. The yield has been magnificent. However, the plot has gotten so overgrown with old asparagus stumps that I have had to totally remove and replace all the soil because cultivation was impossible. My question is how long can an asparagus garden last without being so impacted that it must be replaced; or, is there a way to deal with spent stumps annually to prevent this problem.
|Purple passion asparagus with some rabbit damage. Rabbits love the |
higher sugar content of Purple Passion
|Asparagus crown for vegetative propagation. Selecting crowns that|
are male will guarantee a male crop. Spears emerge from the top
where the fleshy roots come together
When this is done the spears can be harvested by cutting below the soil surface with a knife so that these "stumps" don't stay on the surface. If you harvest the spears by "snapping" them or breaking them above the soil surface then you will get these woody stumps remaining above the soil surface and they interfere with future harvesting.
So, in short, if you can harvest by slicing with your knife an inch or so below the surface I think this will stop your "stump" problem. The woody part is cut off after harvesting during food preparation. The woody part should compost fairly easily.
|Snapping off spears will cause the spear to break just above the woody portion. Nice|
for the kitchen but leaves a "stubble" behind in the asparagus bed
Recent research has pointed out that asparagus spears can be harvested anytime the spears are pencil diameter or larger five inches above the soil level. Smaller spears should be left to grow into fernlike growth to replenish the roots for upcoming seasons. The plant is still expanding its root storage system and excessive removal of spears weakens the plants. However, there is a market that has emerged utilizing these very thin spears.