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How to Prepare Asparagus Plants for the Winter

As one of the first spring vegetables in the home garden, asparagus provides tender green shoots for eating in the spring and airy fern-like foliage throughout the summer making it both practical and ornamental for the home garden. Grown in full sun, asparagus prefers a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 and requires well-drained soil. Applying a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) in early spring for the first three to four years produces tender young shoots. Later years benefit from fertilizer applied after harvest. Asparagus requires minimal care (once established) and returns each spring with larger stalks.

Cut yellow or dying foliage back to ground level in late fall to prevent disease or insect pests from over-wintering on the plants.

Rake the area free of plant debris and weeds. Handpick any weeds around the base of plants and discard.

Cover asparagus crowns with 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch in late fall. Use hay, straw or leaves to form an insulating layer to provide protection from thawing and freezing during winter months.

Remove mulch in spring before shoots appear.


Grow asparagus under hay or straw for tender white shoots. Remove straw after harvest to allow foliage to grow freely to ensure a good crop the next year. Pick asparagus when shoots are 6 to 8 inches high.

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