Begin winter care of asparagus in the fall after the foliage dies back. It usually turns yellow, but may turn brown. Ironically, it usually happens after the first frost, but also occurs in areas that get no frost.
When the foliage is dead, cut the asparagus until it is about two inches higher than the ground. Many of the instructions you will see about asparagus and winter care refer to frost for guidance, so watch for color change and the diminishing life of the plant if you live in areas that have no frost.
Wintertime is a good time to divide roots. Once you cut the tops back, just divide them into individual plants for replanting. It is a good time to do the weeding. Avoid stepping on the plants and wear gloves so sharp stems do not cut you.
It is a good idea to put down mulch in the late fall. Make it about two inches deep. That way, when the crowns lift during the winter, they will remain covered. Not only does mulch work to kill weeds by denying them the sunlight needed to thrive, it helps keep moisture in the ground. If your soil lacks nutrients, composted manure will supply them as it breaks down over the wintertime and feed the plants as they sleep over the cold winter season.
Sometimes there is a warming spell during the last part of wintertime, causing the asparagus to start growing. Lay down some straw to protect the new growth and remove it when it warms again. Use shears to trim any damaged spears. There is just a bit of work involved with the asparagus and it will pay off in a delicious harvest.
Why Grow Perennials
Not only can you make delicious asparagus recipes but you can grow this delicious vegetable too. If you have a garden then planting perennials are a really good idea, because they will give you vegetables every year for many years. Examples of perennials include asparagus, globe artichoke, cardoon, Jerusalem artichoke, sea kale, chicory, and some varieties of oca, onion, and broccoli.
Have a look in your local garden center for ready-grown plants or browse the catalog at a nursery. Asparagus is always a favorite, since you can plant one-year-old crowns and grow amazing asparagus. There are lots of asparagus varieties you can try, including Jersey Giant with its purple head, or Violetto d’Albenga, an Italian asparagus variety. Gijnlim gives you lots of thin spears and Backlim gives beautifully-flavored thick spears.
Dig a 12 inch wide, 8 inch deep channel, and spread well-rotted manure along the bottom. Cover with two inches of excavated soil and make a 4 inch high ridge of soil down the center of this trench. Arrange the crowns on top twelve inches apart, spreading the roots evenly down each side.
Another recommended perennial is the globe artichoke. These plants are grown for their edible flower heads on top of towering stems. Globe artichokes like a warm, sunny area and should be planted in well-drained soil with added manure or compost. Try Concerto or Green Globe. Purple Sicilian will give you lots of purple heads but these need to be protected from frost.
Cardoons are grown for their edible leaf-stalks rather than their flower heads. Keep them deprived of light for several weeks so they become tender and sweet, by gathering the leaf stalks together in the late summer, tying them with twine, and wrapping them in black polythene. Take the polythene off after six weeks and cut the stems at ground level.
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