Paradise Garden

Gardening Articles written by Experts

Asparagus Cultivation

by Mark Rowland

Asparagus FAQs

What is the best variety of Asparagus for growing in the UK? - If you live in a colder part of the country, or in a frost pocket, Guelph Millennium would be a wise choice as the first spears emerge two to three weeks later than most other varieties. For milder areas, Gijnlim is an early variety with consistently high yields and good quality spears. For areas normally regarded as too cold for asparagus, consider Tiessen.

What variety is Evesham Asparagus? - Gijnlim is the main commercialy grown variety in the Vale of Evesham.

Should I dress my asparagus bed with salt? - Definitely not! Salt was once used as a crude weed killer because asparagus is more resistant to it than most plants. There is some evidence that the application of salt to commercial plantings reduces the incidence of some diseases, but this is not recommended for domestic gardens. Much better to give your asparagus plenty of fertilizer; it is a gross feeder and will repay your kindness.

What weight of spears does each crown yield? - That depends on how well it is grown! An annual harvest of one pound per crown is a realistic target for a modern all male F1 asparagus variety when it is in full production.

How long lived is an asparagus bed? - Well maintained, a bed of European all male varieties should crop for 15 to 20 years. American bred asparagus varieties seem to have a shorter life span, say 12 to 15 years.

How long is the cropping season? - An established asparagus bed can be harvested for up to eight weeks, about late April to mid June. A longer season can be achieved by planting more than one variety.

Do I need to peel asparagus spears before use? - White asparagus is generally grown underground an so forms a hard skin which needs peeling. Green asparagus should not need peeling.

Is it better to grow my asparagus from seed ot to buy crowns? - If you have the right facilities, growing from seed is far easier and much cheaper.

So why do most people recommend planting asparagus crowns? - There is more profit in selling crowns than in selling seed, and many writers merely copy what they have read elsewhere.

How quickly can I get my first asparagus harvest from seed? - Sown early and grown well, asparagus will give a small harvest in only one year from seed. The reason for cutting spears from such young plants is to encourage the crown to 'branch', increasing the yield in subsequent years. Think of it as a form of pruning.

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© 2009 - 2012 Mark Rowland