Purple Passion Asparagus planted together with Green vairiety

by Robbie Warner
(Texas zone 8b)

I want to plant some puple passion crowns with my other green variety. The Purple Passion self pollinates.

Would it be wiser to find a different location for the Purple?

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Mixing up the Varieties
by: Sue

Hi Robbie

Well Jamie Petchell our expert says its "best to plant them separately for ease of management more than anything, Purple Passion is not all male, it is a mixed hybrid"

Personally if I didn't have enough space to do this I would just be careful to remove any berries and seedlings. You don't want to let them grow anyway.

I certainly wouldn't mix varieties up but I think many gardeners would not have the luxury of enough space to plant two separate asparagus beds in different parts of the garden. I'd just plant a row or block of one variety and next to that a row or block of another.

I hope that helps, and good luck with your asparagus.

Sue

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How to Amend Sandy Soil, & Chosing Varieties


(usa s.c.)

I am in South Carolina mid-state 29164. I need to know what types to plant for best flavor, hardiness, and a mix for longer season. This is acidic soil, needs organic matter,how much? How should I amend before planting. Should I use 2yr old roots?

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Our Thoughts
by: Susan

Hi Thanks for bringing us your asparagus growing questions. If your soil is very sandy and doesn't stay moist enough you are right to add some organic matter and if it is acidic then adding some lime will bring the pH up. How much to add is difficutl to know without more information. So long as your organic matter is good quality you are unlikely to add too much, read the instructions with whatever lime additive you buy and consider buying a ph testing kit to test your soil before any treatment if you have concerns.

As to varieties, we think our expert Jamie's advice of Mondeo and Guelph Millenium will suit your situation.

The norm is to plant one year old roots although 2 year old roots will work as well. 1 year old roots will mean you have to be a little more patient before you harvest but at this age the plants will probably settle down better.

If any other readers have experience of varieties that do well in this part of the world we'd love to hear from you.

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Growing Asparagus in a Grow Bag

by Cheryl
(Maryland)

Hello, I've just recently discovered grow bags. Do you think I could plant asparagus in a grow bag? There is a 20" grow bag that is 20" diameter and 15.5" high. Also, would I need to bring the grow bag indoors during the winter? I live in Maryland. BTW, I'm new to gardening too, so please be gentle with me! Thank you, Cheryl

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Asparagus in Grow Bags & Pots
by: Sue

Hi Cheryl

Thank you for your question and its good to hear you have caught the gardening bug. The key to being successful gardening is not to try to do things that plants don't like. Sadly asparagus likes to be able to send its roots a long long way down.

Some people will tell you that you can grow asparagus for a few years in a pot but you will never get the success that you will get from growing it in a bed.

Funnily enough I have just planted a big grow bag and a big pot with asparagus crowns, however I've only done it to see what happens and try to get some photos to demonstrate what I expect which is that they just won't do that well. If I'm proved wrong I'll let you know!!

In the mean time I'd focus on other plants in growbags that will make you feel good about your new hobby rather than frustrated.

Now if you have a good spot of well drained soil with a sunny aspect maybe you could go for something a bit more ambitious next sprint and plant a full on asparagus bed.

Good Luck

Sue

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Width of Raised Bed

by Jackie Romant
(Northern California)

Hi, I am planning my garden and would like to plant a single row of asparagus. We are limited on width space, what is the width you suggest for a bed? We are in Northern California and also would like to know the disease resistant all male variety you recommend. Thank you in advance. Jackie

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Raised Bed Width
by: Sue

HI Jackie
Good question. Most information about planting asparagus talks about the spacing between rows not what do if you only want one row.

The recommended minimum spacing between rows is 80cm to 1m between rows. So you need at least 40cm either side of your plants.

This means that you would need a bed about 1m wide. However, If your raised bed is only say 15cm deep and you surround it with paths beneath which there is decent soil then the roots of your crowns can go down and into that soil. This would allow you to reduce the width of the raised bed to maybe 60cm. The higher your raised bed though the more the roots will need to spread within the confines of the bed .

If you don’t allow enough space for each crown you will affect the number and size of the spears that you get to harvest. If you want big fat spears you need to go for wider spacing and also plant your crowns fairly deep. If you only have limited space and want to maximise the amount of asparagus you harvest from a small space of ground you can plant the crowns a bit closer.

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How to Plant Young Asparagus Plants

by Hazel McNeill
(Ewell)

Hi. I am planting asparagus for the first time and all the advice you've listed is brilliant. Thank you. I have bought my asparagus today and rather than it looking root like it looks like lots of young plants. Very fragile looking. How do plant these please? In the same way as the roots ie on a ridge in a trench? Thanks Hazel McNeill. (hazelmcneill@rocketmail.com)

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Young Plants
by: Sue

Hi Hazel

I am wondering whether these are one year old crowns with some growth on the or (more likely from your description)this years seedlings grown indoors.

If they are young seedlings with very delicate roots plant them as you would any young plant being very careful with the roots to allow them to spread out and grow. Note if this is the case this is Year 0 for you as far as cutting goes. You will need to wait an extra year before cutting.

If they are young crowns follow our guidance and plant on a ridge spreading out the roots which will be more substantial.

Hope this helps

Sue

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First growth from crown

by Barbara
(Oklahoma)

I am confused about my very first growth, I know we won't be eating them for a few years, however, do I cut them as they grow this first year, or leave them untouched?

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Do not touch!!!
by: Sue

Hi Barbara

Just leave those shoots to grow into fern this year. The fern generates the energy that goes back into the roots to develop next years shoots.

All the best

Sue

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Growing Asparagus in A Pot

by Colpepa
(Philadelphia)

Can asparagus be grown in a pot. I do not have garden space but I would like to grow a few stalks of asparagus for myself in the summer time along with my flowers. Please advise.Thank you

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Pot Grown Asparagus
by: Sue

Hi Colpepa

It is possible to grow asparagus in a pot, however, you need to be aware that your yield will be relatively limited and your plants may not live fro as long as they would in the ground.

The problem is that Asparagus roots like to go down between 1 and 2 meters. Clearly they are not able to do this in a pot and so the plant is constrained and not able to live up to its full potential.

You will get a few (but only a few) very tasty asparagus spears so long as you appreciate it will only be a few.

All the best

Sue

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Asparagus and Shade

by Gretchen
(Southern Indiana)

Is it ok to plant asparagus in a shady area. It would get morning sun but in the afternoon would be in the shade.

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Asparagus Loves the Sunshine
by: Susan

Hi Gretchen

Whilst you may have some success with asparagus in the shade it really loves the sunshine. The sun warms the soil which gets the shoots growing. I'm not familiar with the temperature in Southern Indiana, if its a warm climate and the sun is on it for a good period in the morning you stand more chance of your asparagus thriving than if its a colder climate and / or your morning sunshine is short lived.

It would be interesting to hear from any growers who have asparagus doing well in the shade or partial shade.....

All the best

Sue

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Do I need to plant more purple asparagus or will they spread?

by Bob Barker
(Kingsport, TN)

I have raised bed of asparagus, with most being the purple variety which we love. My question is this: Do I need to add additional crowns to the areas that are bare or will the existing crowns fill in that area?

Thanks,

Bob
bobelbarker@gmail.com

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Additional Planting
by: Sue

Hi Bob

It depends how you have spaced your existing bed. Your asparagus plants need enough space to grow and crop well.

Check out our pages on spacing when planting asparagus http://www.asparagus-lover.com/planting-asparagus.html

If you do have spaces that could be used plant additional crowns rather than allowing seedlings from you current plants to grow. Self planted seedlings will be weaker and will not yield nearly so well as crowns planted by a reputable nursery.

Finally bear in mind that asparagus roots spread widely both deep and shallow and do not like being disturbed so dig very carefully when planting between existing asparagus crowns.

Sue

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Plant Red berries?

by Karen
(Chicago area)

A friend gave me a bunch of red berries which I thought were seeds, if I plant them will they produce over time?

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Planting Asparagus from the Red Berries
by: Sue

Hi Karen

Asparagus will grow from seed and indeed seedlings will set themselves from the red berries but given the time and effort required in getting a good asparagus bed going the experts highly recommend planting crowns rather than seed. If you really want to go the seed route then choose nursery prepared quality seed.

Planting from quality crowns rather than berries can easily deliver double the yield.

All the best

Sue

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Recognizing Asparagus When it First Comes Up

by Barbara
(Sheffield)

I planted 3 crowns in early April and I am worried that if I weed the area I may accidentally pull up the emerging asparagus. What does it look like at first?

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New Asparagus Spears
by: Sue

Hi Barbara

Don't worry you will recognize them, they look like Asparagus Spears, after all that is what they are!!

We planted a new patch in early May and ours are up already. My only concern would be that yours are not up yet.

I would weed the area carefully pulling out anything that does not look like an asparagus spear!

I do hope you see them soon.

Sue


by: Sue

Hi Barbara

Don't worry you will recognize them, they look like Asparagus Spears, after all that is what they are!!

We planted a new patch in early May and ours are up already. My only concern would be that yours are not up yet.

I would weed the area carefully pulling out anything that does not look like an asparagus spear!

I do hope you see them soon.

Sue

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Newly Planted Asparagus

by Colette S
(Chicago)

How many spears should come from one crown?

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First Shoots
by: Sue

Hi Colette

It can vary but one or two is quite typical. As you are not cutting you are not encouraging further shoots to come up but focusing all of the crowns energy into those first ferns which will deliver the energy to the crowns for future years growth.

Sue

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Transplanting seedlings to the Garden

by Jay
(Ontario)

Hello,

I grew asparagus from seed rather then purchasing crowns.

I am aware that crows are to be planted deep. Is this true for seedlings as well?

Thank you

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Planting Seedlings
by: Sue

Hi Jay

The deeper you plant your crowns the thicker the asparagus you will get (within reason). In the case of seedlings you should plant them just as any other seedling or you will swamp them with soil and they are quite delicate little things.

If as they progress over the seasons you think they are not deep enough add an inch or so of mulch / compost each autumn to bury them a bit deeper.

Sue

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Harvesting Wild Seeds

by Judith Armstrong
(Beeton, ON, Canada)

Hi Jamie,

I live in Ontario, Canada, in a 4 zone. I have very poor success with stock bought from garden supply stores. I suspect the 12-14” of heavy snow and ice may have something to do with it. We have had three very hard winters in a row.This past winter we had 6 weeks of -30-35C . The asparagus are not the only plants to have suffered. Over the last 3 winters I have gone from 21 plants down to 5.

In our meadow areas there are lots of wild asparagus that come every year despite the winters. I am considering harvesting the seeds from the wild, local variety. Are there any issues that growing wild asparagus will bring into my garden? Of the 5 plants I have left 1 is Pacific Purple, 3 are Jersey King and 1 Martha Washington. The Martha Washington crowns never did really Canadian winters.

If gathering wild seeds is not a good idea, any recommendations on varieties that can survive very cold winters, spring temp’s that range from -2C at night then 28C the next day and extremely hot/humid summers would be appreciated.

My thanks in advance
Judith Armstrong




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I asked Jamie for his thoughts
by: Sue

He said "Thanks Sue, well there is only one variety to recommend and handily it was bred in Ontario so it will be ideal for her conditions - it is Guelph Millennium".

I know Jamie is not a fan of harvesting wild or even second generation seed he says it will not give as good a yield. If you have the space you could maybe try the Guelph Milleium and some wild seed as well. It would be very interesting to hear how they both fare in your conditions.

All the best

Sue

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Crowns planted late in zone 7

by Kerry
(Philadelphia, pa)

I planted some crowns in late May/early June in zone 7. Is there a chance they will grow? How long should I wait to see? Should I water lightly daily or even oftener? The weather is hot here.

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Already Planted
by: Sue

Hi Kerry

If you've already planted you will soon know!! Keep them well watered to help the roots get established and you should see shoots within a couple of weeks.

You should be fine in zone 7, you have planted quite late but fingers crossed they will do well.

Sue

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