Asparagus is one of the unique perennial flowering plants from the eastern Mediterranean and Asia minor. It’s famous as a vegetable, especially its edible spears.
Gardeners do not commonly explore the cultivation of asparagus from seeds. Probably the reason is that there are available asparagus in stores, so why not just purchase it?
But if you’re interested in how to grow asparagus from seed and be amazed by its growth, this article will show you the step-by-step process!
What asparagus variety should you plant?
Like any other vegetable, asparagus also has different varieties, and not all are viable for planting. So, here’s what you need to know about the right variety to plant.
Male and female asparagus
You should first know that there are male and female asparagus. But what’s the difference?
Male asparagus is superior for cultivation because they grow taller and yield more shoots. Likewise, they are more disease and pest resistant than female asparagus. They can fight pests such as Fusarium crown rot and asparagus beetle, which can impact the health and productivity of female plants. For these reasons, most commercial asparagus production involves male plants.
Meanwhile, female asparagus can produce fewer shoots and put more energy into seed production, which can detract from shoot production. But let’s be clear that both male and female asparagus are edible.
What are the factors to consider when choosing an asparagus variety?
You do not choose the asparagus variety impulsively. You need to consider different factors, such as the following.
- Perenniality. Always pick a variety that can adapt to your growing region and persist for many years.
- Hardiness. Remember to pick a variety suitable for your growing region, especially the climate.
- Disease resistance. You might want to consider disease-resistant varieties, especially Fusarium crown rot and asparagus rust.
- Shoot production. You need to get a variety that produces high yields of tender and flavorful shoots.
- Shoot size. Lastly, consider the size of the shoots you prefer. Some varieties produce larger or smaller shoots.
What are the recommended varieties for home gardeners?
Before you learn how to grow asparagus from seeds, look at these varieties that you can choose from!
- Jersey Knight
- Mary Washington
- Jersey Giant
- UC 157
- Purple Passion
It is important to take note that you also need to consider your local climate, soil conditions, and personal preferences when choosing a variety to plan. Before planting, it is recommended to research and compare these varieties to see which one will best meet your growing conditions and needs.
How to grow asparagus from seed?
Here’s a step-by-step process on how to grow asparagus from seed!
Preparation of the garden bed
Soil. Preparing the garden bed includes well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0-7.0. You also need to mix in organic matter, compost, or manure and ensure that the soil is well-tilled to a depth of at least 12 inches.
Fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer like an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 formula is ideal for growing asparagus. You just need to amend it on your soil before planting.
Drainage and Sunlight. This will also boil down to the soil. You need to choose well-draining soil to prevent root rot. Regarding light, your asparagus should be planted in a spot with full sun exposure.
Now, it’s time to plant the seeds!
- Plant your asparagus seeds in the spring or after the last frost.
- Sow your seeds with at least 1/4-inch depth and space them between 2 inches apart.
- Once your seedlings grow, you need to thin them for space and development.
How to grow asparagus from seed indoors?
Growing asparagus indoors is the best idea if you have a short growing season. You can follow the garden bed preparation above and the planting procedure. The only thing that differs is that you need to transplant it once it reaches 2 to 3 inches in height.
Tips for growing asparagus seedlings
Regardless of your chosen method, taking care of your asparagus has the same process. Here are some tips we’ve gathered!
- When growing asparagus, it’s important to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- Water is at the base of the plant because the roots of the asparagus are shallow.
- Put mulch around the base of your asparagus to retain moisture, fight weeds, and reduce soil erosion.
- Practice good sanitation to save your plants from rust, crown rot, and beetles.
Grow asparagus from seed today!
To recap on how to grow asparagus from seeds, here are the important things you need to remember.
- Pick a sunny location with well-draining soil and a pH between 6.0-7.0.
- Prepare your soil by incorporating compost and organic matter to improve fertility and structure.
- Sow your asparagus seeds about 1/4 inch deep and 18-24 inches apart in rows.
- Water your seeds regularly and maintain the moisture of the soil until the seeds germinate (usually 2-3 weeks).
- Thin the seedlings to about 10-12 inches apart when they reach about 6 inches tall.
- Water regularly and fertilize as needed.
- In the third year, you can begin to harvest your asparagus (be sure to only harvest spears for the first 2-3 weeks of the season to allow the plants to store energy for future growth).
Here are also some of our thoughts about growing asparagus.
When trying to grow asparagus, it’s important to be patient. One main reason is that it is a long-lived perennial crop, and it can take 3-4 years to establish a healthy and productive asparagus bed.
Likewise, consider utilizing disease-resistant varieties so you can minimize the risk of disease problems. We have provided the disease-resistant varieties above. Lastly, avoid over-harvesting your asparagus in the first few years after planting to allow the plants to establish and build their energy reserves.
With asparagus’ health benefits, you do not want to miss this crop. Learning how to grow asparagus from seeds can be intimidating, but once you start it, all you have to do is to monitor to make necessary adjustments.
Gardening doesn’t have to be hard. That’s why we’ve created this guide so you can grow your asparagus! Cheers to a more sustainable practice!