It would seem that garden chores are over once a cold snap hits and for the most part that's true. Certainly the weeds have about decided to take a nap and if we would only have a few rain showers I could even stop watering. But there are still a few jobs that must be done to put the garden to bed for the winter.
This is what the asparagus bed looks like by the end of October. The plants are mostly dried out and have fallen over from their own weight. This is about a 20 foot bed planted in Martha Washington and and Purple Giant varieties.
I don't think you can tell from this photo but some of these stalks have reached as tall as 5 feet over the growing season. I was able to harvest many pounds of asparagus the entire month of May and half of June, then I let the plants grow to nourish the roots for the next year. Once it turns cold at night the plants dry out and it's time to cut them down to ground level and mulch the bed.
When first planting asparagus roots we're told to plant only male plants so that the plants will not waste energy producing seed and for a season or two this seems to work out but in my experience Mother Nature always finds a way to reproduce and those male plants suddenly pop up with a female plant or two and this is what you get - bright red seeds. I don't fight it. As I'm cutting back I just shake those seeds loose and let them fall where they may, next spring I may get some baby asparagus seedlings.
An hours work and the asparagus patch is ready for winter. The chickens were in heaven when I threw the stalks into their yard! They had an entire day's fun scratching around for seeds I'd missed and eating green bits. The next day I raked up what was left and onto the compost pile it went. Nothing wasted around Dogwood Lane Farm if we can help it.
More about the fall garden next time,