Late Autumn: Asparagus and Hot Compost Heaps

I’ve been waiting for this sign to get out the snippers and chop back my asparagus:

It’s been a mild autumn and I’ve been waiting patiently for my asparagus to start browning off so I can chop it down to the ground for winter dormancy. I do it pretty roughly with a pair of pruning shears, like this:

Last year I wasnt sure where to cut it and I was worried it might rot down. But I just covered it with heaps of manure and compost like in the photo below and it was all fine.

Asparugus bed in the middle, after pruning back to ground and covering with soil. Looks like…. a pile of soil!

After five  months of letting it grow and not really investigating much within the bed, there are a lot of weeds to be pulled out, including couch grass, which is not a friend to asparagus. And this is an example of why all the clearing of beds an cutting back you have to do at the end of a growing seasons is a really good thing – a ready made source of material to create a hot compost pile!

I haven’t written much about composting. Partly because I’m terrible at it. I understand the basics but I never manage to really do hot composting. However, I had a total revelation watching this episode of Gardening Australia recently when Tino demonstrated this method of making a hot compost pile, and I thought, eureka, that is the method for me! This is essentially how I build up my gardening beds anyway, and I can tell you, if you poke you finger down a few inches after a few days you can really feel the heat! …Uh oh, I’m getting excited and resorting to exclamation marks. So I’m going to make one of these this weekend and do a post hopefully. Stay tuned.

Another benefit to cutting back the asparagus is I have a clear view of my vegie area for winter from our patio and kitchen table. Ok, this is not quite the view from my ktichen window, but similar. And also ok, it’s not much to look at yet but it keeps me motivated to forge on with all the plans. I think I might have to move that asparagus bed eventually so it doesn’t block the view. But where to I wonder….

Only three months to wait until those asparagus spears start poking up again. Cheerio!

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