Asparagus field weeding
Hello! I am looking for advice and information. I have an organic asparagus field just under an acre. My husband and I planted the crowns in 2015; this past spring we harvested about 165 delicious pounds from May 2 to June 1. My issue is weeds. We pretty much left the field alone the first 2 years. This spring we mowed down the field and marked the rows as the spears came up. During and especially after harvest I have been trying to eliminate the weeds, a difficult task to say the least. Currently, the field resembles a meadow approximately 3-5 feet tall (a beautiful variety of plant life, but not supposed to be there). I’ve cleared various areas by hand (leaving the ferning asparagus stalks, which are now drooping from height) because I have a hedgeclippers and time, but not necessarily the energy. My plan was to clear enough to distinguish the asparagus rows, mow down between rows with a push lawn mower, and then go through with a cultivating tractor. My question is, if I can get ahold of a field mower, is there still enough time in the season to mow the entire field down and have the asparagus come back and rejuvenate for next year? Do you have a better, more efficient idea? Any advice for this novice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Houston County Minnesota
We have one publication on growing asparagus, but it doesn't specifically address your question of mowing down asparagus ferns at this time of year (only in spring): http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/vegetables/growing-asparagus-in-minnesota-home-garde...
I did find this publication from U of KY. In it is refers to organic stands. It also notes that cutting down the ferns will, as you mention, affect production next year. It does give a pretty good explanation though about managing weeds after cutting and in early spring. https://www.uky.edu/Ag/CCD/introsheets/organicasparagus.pdf
Other pubs from university sources I googled emphasized mulching between rows to reduce weed pressure and the use of preemergent herbicides approved for organic production to control annual weeds.
Sorry I couldn't find an exact answer, but I think your plan is the best so far, and then focus in spring on early weed control.