Does anyone grow Asparagus?

nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)January 6, 2010

We eat a fair amount of asparagus, and I'd like to grow it here in Zone 2b/3a. Can I ? I have tons of sunshine.

I understand it takes years to grow, but I assume I could get fairly mature asparagus at the local greenhouse, and eat it this year?

If so, how much would I need to feed 3 people, say, once a week, and how long does the growing season for it last?

Are there any hints I should know about, and is it worth the trouble and space it needs?

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Asparagus is hard to start from seed. If you want to grow start with crowns-- roots. It should be confined to a raised bed, because it can be a real pest if left unconfined once it is established. My sister bought a house built on land that once was an asparagus farm. The house was 20 years old and she still had asparagus coming up in her lawn.

In other words asparagus is hard to get growing at first and then grows like a weed. I would say put only a few in and wait a few years and you'll have more than you want

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 3:03PM
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I started some from seed about two years ago and this year am hoping to get some to eat. It takes a while but at least the foliage is nice.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 5:12PM
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Three years from seed sowing to first harvest. I've always had high germination rates and good results growing my own plants from seed, but it's a slow process. I'd recommend getting crowns of a variety called 'Guelph Millenium', it's one of the best rated for productivity and hardiness, it's also an all male type that puts no energy into making seed, seedlings that can become weeds for some folks.

I've sometimes seen it recommended that ten plants be put in for each person liking asparagus, I've found that to be a bit much when they've come into full production, but it's great to be able to give fresh asparagus away to friends or other family members.

If planting crowns, do not harvest the first season and only moderately so the next season ... thereafter, a productive planting can be harvested for about six weeks each spring and into early summer.

Always deeply prepare and enrich the planting site, mulch is also a good idea :)


    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 7:14PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

We have asparagus grown from both crowns and from seeds. We were able to eat some from the seeds this year. Yum! :)

What kind of mulch do you use, Terry? I put strips of plastic along the edge of my raised bed because the weeds were so bad. :(

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 8:51PM
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Marcia, yep, gotta love that fresh garden grown asparagus!

When having lived on the farm, the garden was bordered by an open field totally full of dandelions, these would seed themsevles thick throughout all my plantings, I literally had spend half my summers weeding away! For the asparagus, I had laid down a thick layer of wheat straw, it did the trick. Thankfully, I'm now mostly all surrounded by trees and have few dandelions or any other weeds to worry about, though that will now change with the manure I'm incorporating.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 11:16PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

We started them in the greenhouse /seeds, it worked good..about 25 years ago.
Planted in deep trenches, about 10"deep and cover about 5".
The second year cover even, harvest in the 3rd year.
Leave some sprouts alone, [picture, tall fern center] this will make the next harvest better,.. as they say.

I can't see myself without asparagus now, these are the first greens in spring and a little in fall. We have 3 rows and had 5 mouth to feed, now only two but still, never can have enough of it.
I had old cattle manure put in, it had allot of clover seeds in it which I had to fight hard to get rid of, including other weeds, it's a major battle every year, I was also thinking straw, since I have quite a bit of asparagus it would need allot of straw.
I have nice loose sandy soil, weeding goes soooo..easy.

some plants have died out and some have increased from which I transplant now, between plants to the right you see these tall looking things, these are Russian spinach, I leave some plants alone for fall re-seeding, this will choke some native seed out. I can harvest spinach right after asparagus.

Since I keep Honeybees, this is a welcome plant for pollen in late in season.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:42AM
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Terry, do you know any mail order companies in Canada that sell 'Guelph Millenium' crowns?
I can only find Jersey Knights.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 5:49PM
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Konrad, you have a very nice garden setting there surrounded by trees. Yes, having loose sandy soil is so nice to work with! The Russian spinach looks interesting. How many bee hives do you keep?

Maggie, Dominion sells 'Guelph Millenium" ... 8 plants for $10 or 24 for $27 ... that's not a bad price.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 1:04PM
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Terry, I saw the plants at Dominion, I can't figure out how old the crowns are, all it says it that you can start eating them at 3 years.

T&T seeds in Manitoba has 2 year old Jersey knight plants that are all male hybrids. They are supposed to be disease resistant and prolific. Do you know anything about JK?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 3:32PM
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Maggie, any crowns I've seen offered have always been established two year olds, thus you can begin a light harvest the year after planting.

'Jersery Knight' and 'Quelph Millennium' are both very good varieties, QM is reported to have somewhat higher yields ... other than that, there isn't too much difference.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 5:04PM
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Hi everyone. I put concrete 6' blocks around our raised bed. We planted a row 25'long. The second year we planted another row . This summer(yr3) we ate to our hearts content- there were still new thick shoots emerging in Aug.The plumes are attactive and the red berries really show up.
I found seedlings about the garden so potted them up to give away. Has anyone else done this with sucess?
We had a friend remove all of their's for 3 years staight then put in a 6" thick asphalt driveway. 2 years later the asphalt was being broken up by ASPARAGUS!!!. They cut it down, drove over it, and used roundup over the next 2 years--- and guess whats winning the battle. SO TAKE CARE WHERE YOU PLANT ASPARAGUS.
Had to leave this message for a bit as I had to chase 2 huge wolves away. They are becoming as bold as brass coming up the driveway and cutting across the front yard. I had to warn the neibours to watch their dogs.
Take care all Lois -should to a thread on wolves maybe

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 12:28PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thanks Terry!

" How many bee hives do you keep?"

Usually around 3 to 5 but at the end of the season I have
have a few more from the swarms I catch, then come spring
I sell some, looks like I can sell 4 this spring.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 1:40AM
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