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Asparagus officinalis        Seed specs:  Seeds per pound: 12,800   

A member of the lily family, Liliaceae, asparagus is native to  southern Europe, southwestern England, and southern Ireland.  .  It is a simple plant to produce and will give years of tender spears in the spring.

Asparagus thrives in a deep sandy loamy soil. Two basic methods are used to grow the plants - the bed and the row.   The row system is easier and faster to lay out, but the bed system should be used on soil that is heavy or clay.   Good preparation of the planting area will ensure a strong crop.

An asparagus bed should be raised from the area around it and should be prepared by digging the soil to a depth of about 24 inches.  If the soil is clay, it is a good idea to mix in a generous amount of sand, stone or broken brick to increase the drainage. A good amount of compost or well rotted manure should be worked into the bottom of the excavated area and bone meal worked into the top layer. 

In the row system, trenches are dug 6 inches deep, plants being set at about 18 inches apart in the rows.  Rows should be spaced at 3 feet apart. 

Plants should be set out in early spring.  To plant for either the row or bed system, make a ridge 6 inches tall, then set the plants with the crowns on the top of the ridge and the roots trailing over the ridge.  Then cover the roots up to the crown, leaving just the top of the crown exposed.  Water the plants thoroughly after planting and keep them well watered during growing.

Harvesting should not be done until the third year, when the plants will have become firmly established.  Do not harvest after the beginning of June (in the midwestern US) as the plants will need to grow freely to establish strong plants for the following years crop.  At this time, it is beneficial to keep the plants watered and fertilize them two or three times with a balanced water soluable fertilizer.  Keep the weeds controlled at all times in the bed or rows.  If you  notice any weak plants, dig them and discard.

Asparagus can also be grown from seed.  Seed should be sown in shallow drills in an area which has been worked thoroughly and the soil is fine.  To mark the rows, it is helpful to scatter a few radish seeds.  They emerge quickly and the rows can be seen for hoeing.  When the seedlings are about 3 inches high, they should be thinned to a spacing of 3 inches apart in the rows.  The seedlings should be left to develop during the rest of the season and not be moved until the following year when they should be planted as above. 

Mary Washington Asparagus   Mary Washington -  An easily grown variety that produces very well.  .
#634 Seed Packet $3.50 approximately 200 seeds
#B1z-634 Bulk seeds Approximately 800 seeds 1oz $10.50
#B4z-634 Bulk seed 4oz approximately 12,800 seeds 1oz $20.50
#P10-634H;   2-year roots, quantity of 10 roots   $15.00
#P25-634H;   2-year roots, quantity of 25 roots   $24.95
#P100-634H;   2-year roots, quantity of 100 roots   $66.00
#B1z-634       Dried powder 1oz     $20.00
#B1lb-634      Dried powder 1lb     $45.00

Asparagus UC 157
Developed at the University of California in 1978, this variety is the most widely planted asparagus type in the world. Perennial producing early green spears with tight heads. Withstands heat very well, is tolerant of rust and fusarium.
#12208         Seed Packet $7.50        Approximately 100 seeds

Graph of soil
        temperatures for planting Asparagus seeds
There is great diversity in the vegetable varieties that we offer; which makes the general information provided only valuable as adjustable guidelines. This may also affect your seed planting and propagation strategies and the germination rates under your planting conditions may vary from the seed lot test results. The following soil temperature data is for asparagus in general (seed). Temperatures are average daytime from planting to emergence. Percentage is average germination rate. Days is number of days to emergence.

41ºF x 0% x 0 days; 50ºF x 61% x 53 days; 59ºF x 80% x 24 days; 68ºF x 88% x 15 days; 77ºF x 95% x 10 days; 86ºF x 79% x 12 days; 95ºF x 37% x 19 days; 104ºF x 0% x 0 days;


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