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5 Quick Spring Jobs To Prep Your Asparagus Bed For Big Harvests

Asparagus stalks on blue background

Let’s talk about asparagus for a moment.

Despite its year-round presence in the grocery store, it’s usually the first vegetable to show up in the garden after a long, cold winter. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing asparagus in the supermarket all year, and like most things we now enjoy year-round, we’ve also grown accustomed to the flavor of store-bought asparagus.

It’s fine.

Asparagus in bunches at store


Store-bought asparagus tastes just fine.

That is until you grow an asparagus patch of your own. Then it only takes that first tender, crisp, sweet bite of homegrown asparagus for you to be filled with righteous anger.

“I have seen the light! We’ve been lied to for years. The supermarket has been selling dried green twigs masquerading as asparagus!”

You weep openly as you take another bite of the vivid green spear on your fork, amazed that such a divine piece of vegetation came from the humble dirt of your backyard.

So begins a life-long love of homegrown asparagus.

And it’s a good thing it’s a life-long love, too, as once they’re established, a well-kept patch of asparagus will continually produce for anywhere from 20-30 years. Take that, store-bought asparagus.

Bright green asparagus fronds growing in the summer

Of course, it takes a little effort to grow those well-kept asparagus crowns. With spring comes a long list of garden chores to prepare perennial vegetables and shrubs for another growing season. You’ve got to:

Clear the strawberry beds

Fertilize the blueberry bushes

Prep the rhubarb

Prune your summer-bearing raspberry canes

And now you’ve asparagus, too.

Luckily, it only takes around fifteen to twenty minutes to prep your patch for another season of delicious green spires. With one sunny Saturday afternoon, you can easily take care of all your spring perennial garden chores.

Grab your wellies, and let’s get started.

Prune Back Last Year’s Growth

Dried asparagus fronds from previous year

The first thing you need to do is prune back all of last year’s growth. This is relatively simple to do with a pair of hedge trimmers or even pruners. Cut the old growth as close to the crown as you’re able to.

You can compost last year’s growth or shred it and use it as mulch around the asparagus bed.

Oh, you already pruned and mulched your bed last fall?

You might wish to consider holding off on pruning in the fall as you’re missing out on free asparagus. By leaving the old growth to winter over, the dying vegetation becomes its own mulch.

Bright red berries of asparagus seeds
Seeds ready to do their thing if you let them hang out.

Asparagus will happily self-seed where it stands if you leave it, giving you new plants with very little effort each year.


Woman weeding in asparagus bed

Weeding in the springtime is important to a healthy asparagus bed. Asparagus has a shallow root system, and you can easily disrupt the plant by pulling up weeds that have had a chance to grow long taproots and embed their roots within the asparagus crown. Early in the season, while the soil is still damp and the weeds are still young, get in there and grab them.

Asparagus overgrown with weeds
Uh-oh, someone didn’t weed in the spring.

Again, be careful pulling up weeds close to the crown, especially things like Bermuda grass, which has long roots that can stretch several feet from where it’s growing.


Your lovely asparagus have spent the entire winter quietly waiting for warm weather again. And now that it’s here, or at least on the way, give your patch a good dose of an all-purpose fertilizer. I prefer liquid fertilizers this time of year, as they make nutrients available immediately to your plants, right where they need them – at the roots.

Giving your plants that immediate boost early in the season gives them a great start.

Hand adding fertilizer to asparagus plant

Asparagus needs a good deal of phosphorous each season, so adding bone meal around the crown is a great way to ensure a bumper crop.

Top Dress with Compost

Finish off by top-dressing lightly with compost. As discussed earlier, an asparagus patch can produce for up to thirty years, so it’s important to improve the soil each season. Adding compost that will slowly break down over the year will do just that.


Asparagus growing up through mulch.

Once the bed of asparagus bed has been groomed and amended with the appropriate soil dressings, you may want to mulch the plants. Laying down a layer of mulch can do wonders to keep your patch weed-free, and as we’ve already discussed, pulling up weeds can disrupt the crown of the asparagus.

If you’ve saved the old growth you pruned, make a few passes over it with the lawnmower and use the resulting mulch. Otherwise, you can use straw, dried grass clippings, or check out this list of 19 different mulches you can use in your garden for some ideas.

Get Your Lawn Chair

Tiny asparagus spears poking up from the soil.
Grow baby, grow!

Okay, you did everything on your list. Great job!

Now get your lawn chair out, set it up next to your asparagus patch and wait patiently for those first few spikes to poke up from the ground. It’s okay to have a fork and butter standing by too.

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Tracey Besemer

Hey there, my name is Tracey. I’m the editor-in-chief here at Rural Sprout.

Many of our readers already know me from our popular Sunday newsletters. (You are signed up for our newsletters, right?) Each Sunday, I send a friendly missive from my neck of the woods in Pennsylvania. It’s a bit like sitting on the front porch with a friend, discussing our gardens over a cup of tea.

Originally from upstate NY, I’m now an honorary Pennsylvanian, having lived here for the past 18 years.

I grew up spending weekends on my dad’s off-the-grid homestead, where I spent much of my childhood roaming the woods and getting my hands dirty.

I learned how to do things most little kids haven’t done in over a century.

Whether it was pressing apples in the fall for homemade cider, trudging through the early spring snows of upstate NY to tap trees for maple syrup, or canning everything that grew in the garden in the summer - there were always new adventures with each season.

As an adult, I continue to draw on the skills I learned as a kid. I love my Wi-Fi and knowing pizza is only a phone call away. And I’m okay with never revisiting the adventure that is using an outhouse in the middle of January.

These days, I tend to be almost a homesteader.

I take an eclectic approach to homesteading, utilizing modern convenience where I want and choosing the rustic ways of my childhood as they suit me.

I’m a firm believer in self-sufficiency, no matter where you live, and the power and pride that comes from doing something for yourself.

I’ve always had a garden, even when the only space available was the roof of my apartment building. I’ve been knitting since age seven, and I spin and dye my own wool as well. If you can ferment it, it’s probably in my pantry or on my kitchen counter. And I can’t go more than a few days without a trip into the woods looking for mushrooms, edible plants, or the sound of the wind in the trees.

You can follow my personal (crazy) homesteading adventures on Almost a Homesteader and Instagram as @aahomesteader.

Peace, love, and dirt under your nails,