Thursday 1 November 2012

Cutting down the Asparagus

It's the time of year to cut down the Asparagus fern (foliage). Although mine had not yet turned yellow - which I would have expected it to have done by now - I felt that leaving it in place any longer would be a bad thing, because the strong winds we usually experience during the Autumn and Winter months would blow it about a lot, potentially disturbing the roots of the plants.

Normally I have difficulty finding space in my compost bins for the voluminous Asparagus fern, but this year I have a new opportunity:-

I have decided to fill the new Woodblocx raised bed with masses of home-made compost, hopefully creating a very fertile bed in which I will be able to grow some good cucumbers next Summer.

I cut off the stems of the Asparagus about six inches above ground level so that I can identify where the crowns of the plants are. Some time soon I will buy some Growmore general fertiliser and apply a liberal dose to this bed, in order to get the plants off to a good start next year. In the meantime I expect the birds will have fun rooting around for grubs in amongst the leaf litter.

Beyond the Asparagus bed in the photo above you can see a bed with some plastic cloches in it. These cloches are protecting some of my Endives.

As well as the cloches (which are mainly intended to provide protection from the weather) I have also used a mass of little sticks and some wire "obstacles" to try to minimise damage caused by the foxes, who seem to take great pleasure in uprooting the salad vegetables to see if there are any worms underneath.

The paths on either side of this bed are currently blocked with pots of herbs, which I have temporarily moved away from the house because we are having our gutters replaced and I don't want ladder feet in the pots!

Looking beyond the Endives you can see what else is growing on my plot: Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cavolo Nero and Brussels Sprouts just visible at the left, and Parsnips alongside cloched Lettuces on the right.

Out of shot to the right, the Runner Beans are STILL going. Here they are...

Considering the lateness in the season, I think some of these are remarkably good specimens:

As soon as we get a sharp frost (which is likely to happen very soon) these beans will die, but I have already nominated them for the "Man of The Match" award because they have been easily the most successful veg I have grown during 2012. For the record, the best of the two types I grew was "Scarlet Empire". The other, less prolific, type was "Red Rum".


  1. Your runners have served you well this year. Mine started producing much later than yours and finished quite a while a go, still, I was pleased to get any after the bad start I had with beans this year.

  2. You need one of those cameras that you can set up to film the night time fox antics mark.

  3. Your runner beans have been really impressive this year. I'm guessing they have been more prolific than my chard which is saying something.

  4. Phew! Think I am caught up on all your posts! You've certainly been busy! Really liking the new bed and loving the photos of your helpers. Impressive beans too - mine finished some time ago!

  5. Thank you for this post. I hadn't thought of the asparagus blowing about. I will cut mine back to 6" as well.

  6. I keep eyeing those long cloches, trying to figure how to replicate them in my garden. The beans have been a huge success I'd say!

  7. Thanks for the reminder about the asparagus. So much has been hit by the frost here and ours is glowing golden at the back of the garden. I realized when harvesting arugula yesterday, which is directly behind the fronds, that it is time to think about removing the asparagus as it seemed even after three rinses with water, the arugula still had bits of dried asparagus frond in it. Really difficult to remove. So, asparagus out today, maybe some Ballerina Tulip bulbs in, and a bit more garlic.

    Hope you are having some good gardening weather. Always enjoy reading your blog.

  8. Amazing, you still have beans!
    Have a greaat day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  9. I just noticed new growth on my scarlet runner beans yesterday so I'm very excited - perhaps I will get runner beans this year afterall.


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