I think everyone who has the space should keep an asparagus bed.  It is the plant that keeps on giving months after you have varvested those tender young spears in the spring.  In mid summer when the eating is done, the aging spears continue to grow into beautifull willowy ferns reaching up to seven feet tall.  They really become a conversation piece to visitors who only know asparagus as eight inch high vegetables purchased at grocery store.  At some point they must come down and we are approaching that time right now. Today is October 18th and most New England gardeners are busy with fall clean up projects.  You may be tempted to cut down your asparagus ferns right now while you're prepping beds for next season and cutting back strawberries, aging rhubarb, artichokes, etc. BUT DON'T...it's a bit too early! The healthy green ferns that you have enjoyed all summer may have started to yellow, but there is life in them yet. While the loss of green pigment indicates the the plant is no longer photosynthesizing, energy is still being fed to the soil that will benefit the new spears that are developing for next spring.  Full dormancy is about a month away and when the ferns turn completely light brown, that is is time to cut them down.   DSC_1044  
Clip them right at ground level and just leave them on the surface of the bed.  The cut ferns make a wonderful blanket upon which the winter snows can rest and serve to protect the asparagus from harsh icy conditions.  Come spring simply remove the decaying ferns and the new crop will be one of the first signs of life to welcome you back to new growing season.

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