How to Finish Asparagus + Prep it for Spring

the asparagus is at the end of its run - the ferns are browning off

Asparagus ferns will likely be tall and green and ferny, and getting in the way of everything! I corral them behind a string-line so as to let them completely finish in peace, and I’m hoping to encourage you to do the same. Let them go full cycle – there is more to this than meets the eye. As the stalks wither, the carbs return to the roots – a nourishing and important step in the process towards an abundant spring crop. Natures design is so very elegant in this way – each plant containing, within itself much of what it needs to flourish.

The asparagus canes have died right off and are ready to remove

In a month or two, when the ferns have completely dried off, chop them down and pile them beside the bed. Take the opportunity to remove any pernicious weeds. Don’t worry so much about soft, gentle weeds – the pile of organic matter you are about to spread on top will knock them right back.

Cover with a generous layer of mature compost, rotten manure and/ or seaweed. This lovely deep layer will rot down and be two thirds it original size by spring when the first canes start popping through. Bear this in mind as you happily pile on the OM.

If you are on poorly drained or heavy soil, going up will suit your asparagus very well. Though it enjoys moisture and is all the better for not drying out, it hates wet feet. This harks back to its origins where it grew wild in seaside realms. Seaweed, therefore, is an epic part of asparagus care. If you cant get seaweed, never mind, re-mineralise by splashing seawater on it a couple of times through the season.

Asparagus mulched with a mixed woody mulch
Asparagus in full flight in November. A good showing comes from the Autumn preps

Mulch of course, features. Chop up the old canes and stir them through whatever mulch you brew up. Because its a perennial, let woody/ stalky stuff be front and centre. Spread this on top of your awesome pile of organic matter and let nature do the rest. We can create all the fertility our gardens need by recycling what we have + a little local foraging.


  1. Is it possible to grow asparagus below fruit trees?

    • Hey Jess – yes its possible but they’re aren’t the best of partners. If this was your only option then have a go. Factors to consider – asparagus have very dense mat like roots, so perhaps a few small patches rather than one big concentrated one. The spears knock off really easily so a tree that has a mid summer onwards harvest – ie when asparagus harvest is over. And a bigger tree so as you can the ferns can grow through summer without them being too much of a pain (though they will be a bit!) – a plum for instance. Choose a deciduous fruit tree – the leaf fall, falling on the asparagus for a pleasing easy mulch!!