Cover crops in asparagus patch : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Has anyone experimented with cover cropping in an asparagus patch? I understand that asparagus is a heavy feeder and thought that maybe an under crop of clover could help. I also know it doesn't like competition with weeds and wondered if it would consider the clover to be a competitor. Any ideas?

Using library computer

-- Diana Marlowe-Newman (, October 13, 2000


I am working on establishing an asparagas patch now. I am concerned about invading weeds because you hear about it all the time. I'm framing out the bed to keep out quack-grass runners (I hope) and I am planning once the area is solarized (black plastic) to pile on the horse manure every year (we've got literal tons). Even if the oats in the manure sprout, they are easy to whack off and let lie as a mulch, I may even add millet for that purpose...

I have heard that in France, the best asparagas is considered to come from beds covered at least 6" deep in sheep manure and renewed annually. Horse or sheep should certainly feed it adequately. I'm also planning on a top mulch of straw or leaves -- if I can keep the mice out.

-- Julie Froelich (, October 13, 2000.

Julie - you'd better do more than raise and frame your bed. Our beds kept out the grass for exactly 6 months, after which it grew under the bed and came up from below. I reccomend at least a 4-6" edging, and maybe even a layer of weed barrier under your raised bed, if the roots of your plants won't be needing the below-bed dirt. The stuff is tenacious, but makes a good, hard to kill lawn - not too tall, and feels good underfoot. Also, if you forget to mow, the runners will reach over and take root that way, too.

-- Soni (, October 13, 2000.

I have a friend who plants lettuce in with the asparagus to keep out weeds. He says it works well. I'm currently despairing over a thistle invasion in my asparagus bed (about 100 feet long) that seems almost impossible to eradicate. (Especially since I read (I think in this forum) that Canada thistle roots can go 19 feet down into the ground.) Weeding out the thistle just makes it flourish even more and it pops through any mulch I put on the bed. I love asparagus, but I almost feel like covering the whole bed with black plastic so I don't have to deal with the thistle anymore!

-- Barb (, October 14, 2000.

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