April 9, 2014

How to grow asparagus from seeds?

You may ask yourself whether it’s at all worth the ado. In some cases definitely yes:
1. When you don’t have possibility to buy the tubers to plant.
2. You want to have more plants at once.
3. You are on the budget.
4. The variety you want, you can get as seeds only.

On the photo you can see my asparagus Argenteuil, for me best variety. This is an old, French  heirloom variety, loved for heavy crop,thick spears and, what’s very important, you get the produce next year, while other varieties produce after 3 years if grown from seeds.
So, probably next year I wish I had planted a bigger asparagus bed!
Names used for it: Asparagus 'Argenteuil', Asparagus officinalis 'White Asparagus of Argenteuil', Asparagus officinalis 'Precoce d'argenteuil', Asparagus officinalis 'Purple Dutch'

** How to grow asparagus from seeds? **
I started it indoors to speed up the germination, but this is not a must. You may sow them directly in the ground and in final destined bed.
For outdoor sowing best timing is late March or early April, if the soil is wet and unfrozen.
Sow the seeds 2-5 cm (0,8-2”) deep, rows about 30 cm (12”) apart.
How to speed up the germination? Soak the seeds in water for 1-2 days prior sowing. Or sow indoor and keep it in warm place, like on the heater (this is what I do).
First babies appeared fast! 5-7 days! But after 3 weeks the rest is still coming out. I have sown 13 seeds, 8 are out after 3 weeks, hope for the rest as well. Keep them well watered and in warm place.
In the bed outdoor, when the babies have 2-3 leaves, make sure to thin them to about 30 cm (12”) apart. If you grow indoor, that would be the time to plant them in the final bed.

** Now this is important! **
If you spot females amongst them (they produce berries), get rid of them. There are two reasons: these plants will not be productive and they will self-seed like crazy and you don’t want that.

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