All About Asparagus
Gary Lewis is into this vegetable in a big way and has shared his experiences with us all .....
See link http://www.uga.edu/vegetable/asparagus.html for
the official site of this vegetable.
Mr Fothergill's are offering a new variety of Asparagus, "Purple Passion". It's suggested that this variety be eaten raw in salads or in a stir-fry. Like many varieties of Purple Asparagus it turns green when cooked.
Thompson and Morgan are offering two varieties of Asparagus this year. The first is "Jersey Knight Improved", an all-male variety. Also on offer, first time last year "Purple Jumbo", which I tried growing last year with quite a good germination rate and the plants I've grown, roughly eight months old, look healthy. It would appear that T & M aren't offering "Martha Washington" this year, which I have previously grown with relatively good germination rates and are now some two years old and in a bed.
Chiltern Seeds are offering "Connover's Colossal". Connover's Colossal is one of the most popular varieties of Asparagus. Unwins were offering this variety of Asparagus, the first batch of Asparagus I grew was this variety (Connover's Colossal) using seeds from Unwins. I had very good germination results (90% plus). These plants have been growing for some two years now in a bed and looking very health indeed!
Last year Marshalls were offering a variety of Asparagus called "Franklim", an F1 variety, they aren't offering this variety this year. Not such a good germination rate with these, which may be due to me rather than the quality of the seeds supplied.
I have managed to get two varieties of Asparagus from a minor seed supplier, namely "Seedfest" an Internet seed supplier. The two varieties they had on offer are "Mary Washington" and "Argenteuil". "Mary Washington" is very similar to the variety "Martha Washington", an American variety, very old. The second variety "Argenteuil" I haven't hear of before and I'm looking forward to growing it.
The Two most popular varieties grown are "Connover's Colossal" & "Martha Washington"; these are usually both grown by the amateur in raised beds.
Method of propagation, which I have found successful, is to plant the seeds in a "P40" and place the P40 into a seed tray under plastic or glass. The P40 refers to the cellular modules used for plating containing forty cells. Each cell is slightly thicker than a middle finger. The medium used to grow the seeds in is good quality sieved compost. Germination is usually slow, so slow in fact that you may be tempted to discard the contents of the seed tray under the misapprehension that the seeds have failed to germinate. In excess of eight weeks to see the first shoots isn't uncommon. The shoots appear first as needle like shoots, dark in colour and not easy to spot.
Once the asparagus seedlings are large enough they can be transplanted to three-inch pots. Following a couple of months in these pots, then when big enough, transplant up into larger five to six inch pots. I am fortunate enough to over-winter my young plants in a greenhouse; they could easily be over-wintered in a garage or a shed.
Asparagus is usually grown in a garden environment in a raised bed. Such a bed is usually constructed of a wooden structure, usually containing good quality, preferably sieved soil. Asparagus is best grown in a Sandy soil, incorporating copious quantities of organic matter. Asparagus is originally from the Mediterranean, cultivated by the Greeks and the Romans; this plant doesn't take kindly to heavy clay soils.