The Asparagus Experiments

The Asparagus Experiments

Asparagus was one of the first vegetables that I chose to grow in our garden, for 2 reasons, firstly it takes 3 years before you get a decent crop, and secondly because the plants last for over 20 years.

I am not going to claim to be an expert on asparagus, I have only been growing it for 4 years, but I do have over 40 plants, in 3 different locations in our garden. There is loads of information on growing asparagus on the internet, so I'm not going to repeat it here, but I am going to explain some of my findings from doing various experiments on my asparaguse beds.

Starting Out - Seeds or Rhyzomes?
In my first year I planted 10 Rhyzomes, I wanted to plant more but I bought them too late and the nursery only had 10 rhzomes left, By autumn I was keen to get my hands on more plants so ordered 100 seeds, I planted 50 in pots in the convesatory in November, that was actually a waste of time because I planted another 50 in pots in the spring an they quickly caught up with the older plants. Asparagus seedlings are very delicate and whilst I achieved nearly 100% germination rate only about 20 plants survived after being transplanted into beds, this could have been because they were somewhat neglected, but at least the fittest ones survived! I would say that the plants are probably 2-3 years behind a second lot of 2 year old rhyzomes that I planted in the same year.

Remove Female Plants
There are many people who recommend removing female plants because they produce seeds that could potentially germinate and crowd out your asparagus bed. I don't see this as a problem because when you neglect delicate asparagus seedlings they don't last for very long! People say that female plants do not produce as much asparagus, I havent found this to be the case. Scattering a hundred or so asparagus berrys on our allotment yeilded exactly zero asparagus plants. Planting the same asparagus berrys, and 90 percent germinated, so I wouldnt worry about female plants.

Harvesting - Cut or Snap?
I read various websites and watched the odd youtube video on harvesting asparagus, some people say to snap at ground level. I snap harvested 5 of my original plants and cut the other 5 about an inch below ground level. The asparagus plants that I was cutting were definetely more productive. I think this could be because further shoots were growing from the same place that I had cut.

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