Do you need tips for growing asparagus? Most gardeners fear growing asparagus from seeds because it is a perennial plant and can take more than three seasons to mature. A passionate farmer has the patience to wait for it to develop, but not many farmers will choose to start growing asparagus from seeds.
The asparagus plant is grown from either seeds or bare root stock crowns. Most people prefer bare root stock crowns because they are easy and quicker than starting from seeds. The method you choose doesn’t matter; the only thing that matter is your patience to take care of a plant for three years.
Asparagus is a vegetable that can serve you for 15 to 20 years if you take good care of it. Like any plant, it requires care from planting the seeds, watering, transplanting, and flowering to ensure you have a healthy plant. Throughout the article, you will find various tips for growing asparagus in your garden.
How to grow asparagus from seeds
Growing the plants from seeds sets you back a few weeks when you compare it to planting from stocks. However, for seeds, once you plant them, they will be fresh and free from diseases. At the same time, seeds are more likely to survive the transplant shock than stock crowns.
The best time to plant your asparagus seeds is late February or early March, when you have optimal temperatures of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When growing, ensure it’s early enough so that you can transplant after the frost period has passed.
Since asparagus produces seeds, you can pick them from growing plants, or if you are beginning with the plant, you can purchase a packet of seeds. There are male and female asparagus plants.
It is advisable to plant both male and female seeds to improve pollination. Male asparagus is superior compared to females because they produce more harvestable spears. So, it’s better to plant more males than females in a garden to have pollination and a good harvest.
Growing asparagus from seeds requires you to cull out the female plants, make room for male plants, or plant them to have a ready source for asparagus seeds each year. Culling the female plant prevents you from getting seeds from it.
What is the procedure for planting asparagus from seeds?
There is no trick when it comes to planting asparagus from seeds. It all comes down to the temperature requirements of the plant.
The seeds you collect are for planting asparagus. If you pick seeds from a plant, wait until autumn, when the seeds or berries are bright red. Collect the tops and place them upside down in a warm, dry room until they ripen.
Prepare starter soil in a container. Ensure the soil has a pH of between 7.0 to 7.2 and that the soil is rich in nutrients and well-draining. Before you plant the seeds, soak them in water for a night, then plant them.
Plant the seeds in moist soil 1 cm deep and 5 cm apart from each other and place them in a sunny window. Leave them for about two to eight weeks for them to sprout. Keep the soil temperatures at 70 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a greenhouse if the external conditions are not suitable.
The best time to transplant these seedlings is when the frost has passed. Transplant them into a garden with rich, well-draining soil. If you want thin spears, place them 20 to 25 cm apart and 10 cm; if you wish to have thick spears, set them 30 to 36 cm apart and 15 to 20 cm deep in the soil.
As the asparagus grows, ensure that you keep the soil moist and add fertilizer in the spring. Care for the plant until the 3rd year, when it is ready for harvesting.
The best Asparagus to grow
There are different types of asparagus that you can choose from to grow in your garden. They have different colors and sizes.
- Hybrid Varieties —Hybrid asparagus produce high yields, is disease resistant and grows uniformly. Most of them are male, and they help to prevent the growth of more seeds in the garden.
- Heirloom varieties —- Some examples include Conover’s Colossal and Mary Washington. This variety may not be the best for surviving diseases, but they produce delicious spears.
- Purple asparagus —- Examples are Purple Passion and Sweet Purple. They produce purple spears with high sugar content and a nutty flavor. This type of asparagus is best eaten raw as salads, since they fade in color when cooked.
- White asparagus —- This type is made from blanching. It is a process by which the asparagus spears are deprived of light as they grow. An example is Precoce D’Argentuil.
Requirements and tips for growing asparagus
When taking care of a plant, you must consider the amount of water you give it at any point in its growing stage. The succulent asparagus spears solely rely on water to survive, so it is better to provide them with enough water.
Water the plant when the soil is dry. After transplanting, give it an inch of water per week. During the dry season, increase the watering period to more than once per week to ensure it has enough water.
You can use a moisture meter to check if the soil is dry. Spray the water around the soil rather than on the plant.
Test your soil before planting to know the pH value and soil quality. The soil report will indicate what your soil lacks. If you don’t know, you can ask the testing center for an explanation and the way forward.
Apply fertilizer as recommended by specialists in the spring before spears appear. And also, you can apply it in the summer after harvesting. It is unnecessary, but you can choose to use it to improve the nutrients in the soil.
Adding is among the tips to growing asparagus. It is essential since it helps to suppress weed growth, prevent moisture from escaping, and keep the soil temperatures warm. Things like this can reduce the quality of your asparagus because they compete for food from the soil.
Apply mulch before the spears emerge in the spring and after harvesting the plant in the summer. The mulch will help the plant get the best nutrients from the soil and ensure it has enough water and warmth during cold temperatures.
Find health issues
Predicting the type of insects and pests that will attack your plant can be hard, especially for perennial plants that grow for three years. At times, you can lose track of the pests you have killed.
The best thing to do is to check your asparagus plant for changes, such as dry ferns. Some insects, such as red asparagus beetles, stay on the plants, leading to diseases—some of them include; asparagus rust, fusarium root, and crown rot.
If you spot pests on your plant, spray them off with water or pick them up by hand. You can consult local farmers if your plants have a disease to help sort the problem.