Growing Asparagus from seeds

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Hi all
I've bought some asparagus seeds as I can't find crowns. I've done som reading on the net but still have a few questions. I hope some of yo experienced growers can help.
I'd perfer to grow the seeds in pots for the first year, the transplant them. A site I visited said to plant in "peat cups". Wha are these? Can I plant in small pots? Would I use pure peat moss? O what mixture? Am I correct in saying they must stay damp all the time?
Many thanks Mozi
-- Mozie
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I can only tell you what worked well for me:
Seeds planted 1"X1" in regular flats in "Pro-Mix" (peaty starting mix readily available. Pretty cheap if you buy the compressed bale) in Mid-February, germinated at room temp. They take a couple of weeks to germinate. Transplanted in spring after all danger of frost to a nursery bed 6"X6" and kept weeded. You should get nice fist-sized crowns to transplant to their permanent home by the next spring. For my money, this is a whole lot better than expensive commercially grown crowns that don't always transplant well. Your own year old crowns should have zero transplant loss, and do so much better than bought ones that the extra year hardly matters. Depending on how good conditions are, you can probably cut a few spears the year after transplanting, and get a full crop in a couple of seasons.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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I bought my crowns off of ebay. :-)
I've never tried growing them from seed!
--
Om.

"My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch." -Jack Nicholson
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OmManiPadmeOmelet Wrote:

Thanks! I live in South Africa so apart from not having ready mixe soil like "Pro-Mix" at the nursery, our seasons are opposite to th northern hemisphere. We're at the end of spring going into summer a the moment. I visit nurseries regularly but have never seen asparagu crowns and none of my gardening friends have either (or the soil). wanted to try something different so when I saw a packet of asparagu seeds I snapped them up. So, any help to get them growing would b appreciated! Can anyone help with the soil mixture? I'm thinking hal peat moss and half regular potting soil? Am I right in saying the soi must always be damp?
Thanks again everyone Mozi
-- Mozie
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Mozie Wrote:

Me again! Is there really noone out there that can help me with th soil composition to grow asparagus seeds? I'll just have to wingi then... Thanks anyway
-- Mozie
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Any light potting mix will work for starting the seeds. What I referred to as "Pro-Mix" is a commercial version of the "Cornell formula," which is peat, perlite, sand, some fertilizer. Asparagus likes deep sandy soil, though I do pretty well in heavy clay interspersed with rocks. If you start the seeds in mid-winter, you can transplant them to a nursery bed in the spring, then to a permanent bed the next spring. You'll get excellent plants at a fraction of the cost of commercially grown roots, and incur little or no time penalty for doing so. Confession: I'm economical, verging on downright cheap.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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Soil PH should be between 6.5-6.7 in well drained soil.
Asparagus is a heavy feeder and needs regular fertilizer with well rotted manure, or compost or a commercial product worked well into the suface of the soil. Use straw mulch to control weeds and hold mixture after you get them planted outside. Plant the seeds about 8 weeks before the last frost at 25 C. sow outdoors 3 weeks before the last frost 1/4-1/2 deep and 1 inch apart. Space to 18 inches apart in trenches 8-12 "deep. as the seedlings grow fill the trench back in.
Plants from seeds will take about 4 years to before you can harvest the spring spears. It will grow well beside basil and parsley and tomatoes as companion plants. and asparagus is prone to rust but a sulfur spray will take care of that at the first signs.
--
:) Lynn

"Mozie" < snipped-for-privacy@gardenbanter.co.uk> wrote in message
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Lynn Wrote:

Thanks Gary & Lynn, exactly what I neede
-- Mozie
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Ok, so here's my plan. I don't have a lot of garden space so I'
thinking of planting the asparagus seeds in pots approx 20" in diametr by 30" deep. I'll use a light potting mix with about a 1/ fertilizer/manure to start. Is 1 seed per pot ok? or can I have mor per pot? I'll keep them in pots for the first year, fertilizing ever month or so. Too much? Thereafter I'll plant them in the ground amon my tomatoes and other vegies - well I'll cross that bridge when I ge to it. Thanks everyon
-- Mozie
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I can tell you what I did. There is no warranty, express or implied:
Seeds in regular flats on a 1" grid. Grown for a couple/three months, then transplanted to nursery bed 6" by 6". You can expect 1-year crowns to get fist sized and be ready for transplanting to their permanent home the next season. With good conditions, some will be big enough for a light cutting the next season.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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Gary Woods Wrote:

Hi Gary
Forgive my ignorance but what are "regular flats on a 1" grid"...
Thank
-- Mozie
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Mozie wrote:

A flat is an array of depressions filled with potting soil used to germinate seeds and grow the seedlings to some size. Any nursery will sell tomato or strawberry seedlings by the flat, for example.
A regular flat is the kind carried by all of your local nurseries. Unlike an abnormal one that's only available by special order. ;^)
A 1" grid is the distance between centers where each seed is planted.
The flats I'm accustomed to seeing in nurseries have a larger grid maybe 2". Sounds like "regular" means "homemade" in this case. Thus probably it means not fancy - A grid made with wooden slats?
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In this case, I was just referring to the plastic trays plants are commonly sold in, which gardeners customarily save too many of. Typically, six of these fit into a larger holder, which is how the greenhouse folk handle them. As the other reply said, the "grid" is just a 1" X 1" planting pattern. And not all that precise; the really obsessive folk have a "dibble board" with pegs or spikes at the desired spacing to make a nice even array of planting holes. I've thought of doing that, but haven't gone _completely_ 'round the bend yet.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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Gary Woods Wrote:

What do you think? [image: http://www.rae.co.za/Asparagus.htm
-- Mozie
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Very pretty! Those babies will be in fine shape to plant out in the spring, and into a permanent bed the next year....
Good show!
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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Gary Woods Wrote:

-PHEW- *THANKS* I thought they were too spindly looking! So this is ho they are s'posed to look then? Thanks. I'm actually in the souther hemisphere, so it's summer here (our seasons are opposite). How bi should they be when I plant them out? I'm thinking of doing that nex month, ie planting them in a BIG pot, leaving them for a year the plant them in the ground? -This is such a learning curve for me, bu I'm enjoying it- :)
Thanks again ;
-- Mozie
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As the plants develop, the new stems will get thicker. I put mine in a nursery bed 6 inches each way after overwinter in the flats. By the next spring, they were putting up pencil-thick shoots, with fist-sized root clumps; easily as big as "store boughten" roots, and ready to plant in a permanent bed. Virtually no blank spots doing it that way!
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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Mozie Wrote:

Asparagus is perennial and once planted you can harvest the spears fo up to 20 years. They do need space though. I am planting mine this yea in a bed that is 3' by 15' and having two rows a foot apart down th middle and staggering the crowns so that in each row there is a crow every 2'. Every now and then I'm leaving one out and marking the edg of my raised bed and this will be a spot where I will plant a tomat plant each year. The tomato protects against asparagus beetle and th asparagus has a root exudation that helps deal with nematodes tha attack the tomatoes roots. BUT if this is done you need to be ver careful when you remove the tomato plants that you do not disturb th asparagus roots.
Wild asparagus grows near the sea and they love a very sandy soil. Als you need to thoroughly weed the site and remove all the perennial weed due to the fact that you will not be able to remove these once th asparagus is in. One plotholder on our site in London, UK lost al their asparagus due to the bindweed not being removed.
I am digging in 4" of sand over the whole area and then laying dow some rotted manure before the end of this month and then will plant th crowns in the spring. I am getting 1 year old organically reared crown and will order in more than I need. Would love to start from seed bu don't have the time as I am planning to move in about 7 years time an will have to give up my plots then.
They love seaweed, either natural and unwashed or a seaweed preparatio for feeding. Or even just a sprinkling of sea salt! Forgot the harves times but it's only a few weeks. I think it starts in April and ends i June but you can google that. Then you leave it and allow the ferns t grow. If it is a windy site you may need to tie them. Once they star to discolour you remove them to within a couple of inches of the groun and get them away from the bed as they can harbour the asparagus beetl eggs. Hope this helps but bear in mind I am an organic grower i London. www.organicplot.co.u
-- Lois Pallister
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I love asparagus, but it is rather expensive. I had thought of growing it hydroponically. The thought of a multi-year wait from seed to harvest dissuaded me. I live in hardiness zone 6b (see http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html ). If I lived in an area in 7a or 8a, I would plant them and wait.
I would not want to live in 8a or higher because I like at least a 6" (152 mm) freeze to kill last years insects. :)
Dick
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snipped-for-privacy@smart.net (Dick Adams) expounded:

I'm curious - what keeps you from planting them in zone 6b? They're perfectly hardy there, as a matter of fact they're hardy down to zone 3.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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