Asparagus died

I have had the same batch of Asparagus in my garden for 8 years and have had great yields every spring. Last spring [2006] none of my asparagus came up. I attributed it to an extremely wet/rainy March in Northern California. Wishful thinking.
I let it pass and this year nothing came up again. It appears that I have lost all of my original 22 plants. What could have happened to them during the winter of 2005-2006? All of them? I fertilize and cover them for cold protection every year.
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It sounds like they may have rotted. They seem to do best in well drained soil. They're very hardy and lived in zone 5 for a good gardening friend of mine. He didn't cover them in the winter.
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