If you live in the southern United States, and if you raise asparagus, then it is probably time for you to winterize your asparagus beds. After the weather has turned cold and we have had a freeze or two, your asparagus ferns will begin to yellow and die. To keep your plants vigorous and to avoid disease it is best to cut down these dead ferns and either burn them, or dispose of them well away from your asparagus bed.
I start off by taking a pair of pruning shears and cutting off all of the ferns right at ground level.
I gather all of the cut ferns in a trash can and haul them out into the woods on the other side of my yard from the asparagus bed. I would prefer to compost them, but my compost bed is right next to my asparagus bed so I haul them off.
After I get rid of the ferns I gently rake the dead leaves and such out of the bed.
Next I go through the bed and hand pull any weeds that have grown there. I don’t use a turning fork or any kind of mechanical cultivator for fear of damaging the crowns which are right below the ground.
When the bed is all cleaned up I cover it with about two inches of good compost. I prefer to use my own compost, but I didn’t have any ready, so I was forced to buy six bags. This cost me a wopping $9.00, but I’ll get my money back many times over when I harvest this bed next spring, so I didn’t complain too much.
I water the bed thoroughly at this point. Remember, just because you can't see anything growing doesn't mean there's nothing there. Your asparagus still has a massive, living root system down there and it needs regular watering throughout the winter.
A little general weed eating and clean-up around the bed, and it’s good to go for the winter.
In late winter/early spring, just before the asparagus shoots start coming up; I’ll broadcast a little 13-13-13 fertilizer on the bed and water it in. I hope to have a good crop this year, and I hope you have one too.