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ASPARAGUS


  How To Grow Asparagus


PLANT TYPE: Annual
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Asparagus officinalis
LIGHT: Full Sun
SOIL TYPE: Fertile, deep, well drained soil
pH RANGE: 6.5 - 6.7
MOISTURE/WATERING: Average; a flush of asparagus spears often follows a good rainfall
MATURE PLANT SIZE: 6 to 8 inches high
KNOWN PESTS: N/A
KNOWN DISEASES: Rust



OVERVIEW:

Asparagus is a member of the lily family and it is not an easy vegetable to grow. Patience is a virtue with asparagus. It is just about impossible to grow from seed so I would advise you purchase 1-year-old asparagus crowns, which are the roots of the plant. These are planted in a trench with the roots spread out over mounded soil. The trench is gradually filled in as the plants grow.

It takes about four years for asparagus plants to mature enough for harvesting - if you start from seed. Prior to that asparagus plants should be allowed to grow and feed themselves.


PROPAGATION / SOWING:

Sow indoors 8 weeks before last frost, 1/4" deep at 25 degrees C (77 degrees F). Germination will occur in 10-14 days. Sow outdoors, 3 weeks before last frost, 1/4-1/2" deep and 1" apart. Thin or space asparagus plants to 18" apart in trenches 8-12" deep. As the asparagus seedlings grow, fill the trench back in.


COMPANION PLANTING:

Basil, calendula, parsley, tomato.


CARE & GROWING:

Choose a sunny location with a fertile, deep, well drained soil. Soil pH should be between 6.5-6.7. Asparagus is a heavy feeder and needs regular fertilizing with well rotted manure, compost or a well balanced synthetic fertilizer worked in the top surface of the soil. Use straw mulch to control weeds and hold moisture.


HARVESTING:

Asparagus plants from seeds will take 4 years before you can harvest spring spears. In early spring, cut or snap asparagus spears when they are 6-8" high, before the heads separate.


NOTES:

Growing strong healthy asparagus plants or resistant cultivars helps prevent the onset of Rust disease.




POPULAR ASPARAGUS VARIETIES

Guelph Millenium Asparagus

A new hybrid developed by the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada - the result of 19 years of research. Hardy, high quality asparagus ideal for the home garden and commercial growers. Start indoors eight weeks prior to transplanting outdoors.

Mary Washington Improved Asparagus

This early hardy variety is vigorous and resistant to rust. It is one of the most well known, favorite varieties with home gardeners. Mary Washington asparagus produces excellent quality, a good yielding, rich green spears. Ideal for freezing. Start indoors eight weeks prior to transplanting outdoors.

Jersey Giant Asparagus Roots

Jersey Giant is a top rated early variety with delicious green spears. Easy to grow with good disease resistance. Jersey Giant will produce for many years. A perfect variety for eating fresh. Hardy in all zones. Available at veseys.com.













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When buying asparagus crowns, which are the roots of the plant. Look for bundles with 10-15 roots that are dormant (showing no green shoots) and that look firm and fresh, not limp.






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