Paradise Garden

Gardening Articles written by Experts

Asparagus Cultivation

by Mark Rowland

How to Grow Asparagus from Seed

asparagus seedlings

Asparagus seed sown in modules in the spring should germinate in about 2 to 3 weeks. F1 hybrid seed should give close to 100% germination.

potted asparagus seedlings

About 3 weeks after germination when the asparagus seedlings are large enough, and have developed a strong root system, they should be transferred to 9 cm pots. Here the pots have been topped with vermiculite to discourage sciarid fly. Colour coded labels distinguish different varieties.
Green = Gijnlim
Orange = Thielim
Red = Guelph Millennium

asparagus seedlings

After a further 7 weeks the young asparagus plants should have several shoots and will be ready to plant out into their final quarters.

newly planted asparagus

Asparagus plants need to be planted quite deeply to produce strong spears, but planting too deeply will reduce the yield. Here to young plants have been planted in shallow pits to avoid smothering the young fern. In the autumn, when the fern has died off, the asparagus bed will be smoothed over and built up further.

asparagus in autumn

By January the asparagus fern is mostly brown and dead. In spite of weeks of hard frost there is still an ocasional green stem, but it is time to cut it all away and tidy up the bed.

tidy asparagus bed

The asparagus bed weeded and top dressed ready for the new season. The end supports for the crop support system have to be substantial enough to hold a considerable weight of top growth. Asparagus shoots can easily reach five foot tall.

one year old asparagus The one year old crop with crop support installed. A few spears have been harvested, but the emphasis has been on building the strngth of the crowns for next year.
male asparagus flowers

Male asparagus plants carry small bell shaped flowers.

asparagus berries

Female asparagus plants carry large numbers of round berries. These berries take a great deal of energy from the plants, weakening them and shortening their life. This is the principal reason why female asparagus plants are less productive than the males.

male asparagus berries

Male asparagus plants can also produce berries from hermaphrodite flowers. The seed from these berries will give 25% female plants, 50% males and 25% supermales. The supermales can then be used to create new all male hybrids. The photo shows the berries on a plant of Gijnlim.

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© 2009-2010 Mark Rowland