This is one Mean Old Lady!

This is one Mean Old Lady!
Self-portrait: 'Quilter on Fire'

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Asparagus in Winter

In winter, the feathery foliage and stalks of asparagus die and dry up.  In mid-winter, these should be cut off near the surface of the bed-- and because of the endemic diseases affecting asparagus in Arkansas, I do not compost the waste.  I wear goat-skin leather gloves for this job, because asparagus stems have little sharp thorns. 

Now the asparagus bed looks ready for spring.  However, with asparagus , there are little chores to be done in every season.   Pest plants crop up readily--notably wee oak trees planted by acorn-hoarding squirrels.  (When our neighbor's maple forms seeds in the spring, I'll pull up hundreds of little saplings.  Even though I try to pick up many of the seeds by hand, it's impossible to keep up. )   

Now it's time to salt the asparagus bed.

Yes, that's what I said.

I found an internet source about fighting some of the more troubling diseases of asparagus, and the recommendation was treating the bed with a light application of rock salt.  I sprinkle 1/2 pound on the surface--preferably right before some rain is expected.  Over the past few years, the health of the bed has improved, although some stalks are affected.  

If I can find bags of manure, I'll also fertilize the bed.  Gardening centers don't always carry things year-round.

Spring will be here before we know it.  Already there are harbingers!  I'm especially happy to see these emerging (about 1" high now) after the brutal heat and drought of last summer.  The other early risers are weeds.  I'll be fighting snakeberry runners (fake wild strawberries-- their flowers are yellow) as well as creeping Charlie before you know it!


  1. Creeping Charlie is the bane of my existence. Every year I have a big losing battle with the stuff. The wild strawberries are not quite so prolific.

    No sign of spring here yet, but I can see the buds on my prunus mume trees. They typically flower in February, but we've had a cold winter so far. I wonder if that will set them back.

  2. I almost want to like the Creeping Charlie when it blooms (so early!) but it sure is pesky. In Ohio I fought red-root pigweed, lambs' quarters, and nutgrass. Here, I fight everything, including a few things I planted myself, unaware that in this climate they would grow like, well, weeds. It is very difficult to kill ANYthing in Arkansas.

  3. We used to pull piles and piles of morning glory off our fence in Florida. I had nurtured every leaf before that in Arkansas. One woman's weed is another woman's treasure, right?

    Well, dang. I wish we'd surveyed the yard last week. I will enjoy your garden vicariously, I think. I'll be back soon - maybe with more WF bread! (heh heh heh)

  4. ...and the Carthaginians never had asparagus again.


Rose 'Crepuscular'

Asparagus bed--post harvest

Lake Conway Mutti und Kinder