Spring Growing Guides
Asparagus Growing Guide
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This Mediterranean native is one of the first vegetables harvested in the spring. Asparagus is among the foods identified as having the highest levels of Glutathion (GSH), a potent anticarcinogen/antioxidant, that defends against cancer. Asparagus is easy to start from seed, but you'll get an earlier harvest from our 1 year old crowns.
CULTURE: Direct seeding is not recommended. Start transplants 60-90 days before your last frost. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in sterile seedling mix kept at 65-80°F. Germination can take 10-25 days. Fertilize transplants with an all purpose liquid fertilizer.
PREPARING THE BED: The key to good production is a well-prepared, deeply dug bed with lots of added organic matter. Prior to transplanting, work in 1-2 cups of our complete fertilizer per 10 row feet. After the danger of frost has passed, plant seedlings 10-15 inches apart in a 4 inch deep trench. Fill in the trench as the asparagus grows.
ASPARAGUS ROOT CROWNS: Plant the crowns 10-15 inches apart shortly after you receive them in mid-April. Complete instructions are included with your order.
MAINTAINING THE BED: Fertilize an established bed early in the spring and after harvest with 1-2 cups of our complete fertilizer per 10 row feet. Keep beds moist with about 1 inch of water per week. Stop harvesting when the stalks reduce in size to the diameter of a pencil. Let the smaller remaining spears grow. They may reach 5-7 feet tall and will become bushy. Cut off ferny growth to the ground after it turns yellow. Mulch with 2-3 inches of compost or well rotted manure in the fall.
DISEASE: The main diseases of asparagus are rust, Fusarium wilt, and Fusarium stem and crown rot. Control by starting seeds in sterile soil and maintaining good plant vigor.
INSECTS: Control asparagus beetles with an application of Pyrethrin. Slugs may also be troublesome in the early spring, so use traps or bait to keep their munching to a minimum.
HARVEST: A moderate 2-3 week harvest can be expected from crowns in 2-3 years. Harvest spears when they are 6-10 inches tall, breaking or cutting them off at ground level. With each successive year, your harvest window will lengthen to a maximum of 6-8 weeks. Harvested spears can be held for 10 days at 34°F and 100% relative humidity.
SEED SPECS: Minimum germination standard: 75%. Usual seed life: 3 years.