Growing Asparagus

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Michaelangelica, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Asparagus
    I thought this pretty, delicious, nutritious and useful plant needed a thread of its own.
    I just popped them in my normal seed raising mix, which is seed raising or potting mix topped with a goodly layer of vermiculite (1/4 inch) then the seed, then another layer of vermiculite. I figue this forms a sterile water holding envelope for seeds. i have had good success with most things My latest triumph was a Tree Peony and a Pau d'arco tree. I manage to buy small bags of vermicuite from my produce store for $7-8 while my favorite Big Hardware Store wants $10. I am tempted to get a big nursery sized bag. A much cheaper way to go, if you have Permies you can share with.
    Some other points
    # If the vermiculite gets the slightest fungal- green tinge then the seeds are probably dead. I am a bit reluctant to use fungicides, even natural ones.
    Which leads me to the philosophical position that:- "All life is a race between rotting and rooting." :D :twisted: :ANAL:
    # Use a 5" or larger pot unless you have an automatic watering system. The bigger pot size gives you lee-way if you have to earn a living etc and forget to water. Don't use the little seedling punnets, they are designed for automated, huge, seedling nursery, production systems.
    # My seed was very fresh from a seed wholesaler (Royston Petrie). If you as for a"Trade packet" You would get a huge amount of seed (enough for a100+ plants I think from memory).
    I broadcasted some of mine but my snails or something ate them, Still I have about 50 plants that I have potted up.
    # Buy a mist pressure-sprayer from my favorite Huge Hardware Store ($5-7), then you will get a fine mist to spray the young and emerging seedlings (water!) with. Spray both leaves and 'soil". Spraying leaves funnily enough, encourages root development. I spray the pot as often as I think of it. (2-6 times a day more on dry windy days and when seedlings get larger). If you let the pot dry out at any time seeds will die. If you only have the one pot a clean, recycled, cleaning-products sprayer will do for watering.

    I just watched a Gardening Australia segment on line, just before I read your question!
    The Vegie Patch (4:50) - 26/09/2009
    https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/video/
    The presenter soaked the seed before planting them direct into the soil.
    [​IMG]

    I also learnt that like Asparagus are males and females. The poor female, despite having pretty red berries(seed?), are unceremoniously ripped entire from the soil! A cruel fate.:(
    I knew you would relate to that :)
    [​IMG]
    An obviously male plant?:)

    [​IMG]
    A fluffy, flamboyant,feckless, female sparaguts ? :D
    That photo conveniently came from a site on the Medicinal Uses of Asparagus
    SEE
    https://herbalcureinfo.com/curative-effe ... his-plant/
     
  2. jayjay

    jayjay Junior Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    How do you know when planting asparagus crowns whether they are male or female? I didn't know there were female plants until I saw a segment on Gardening Australia. If buying certified crowns from a nursery would they be male ones? Sorry if I sound a bit ignorant buy I am new at this. posting.php?mode=reply&f=1&t=12733#
    Regards,
    JayJay
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    Thanks! I too saw the Gardening Aus story - about 2 hours after I put more seed in... So it didn't get the presoaking. I had a bit of a Google and there are some that say that it takes up to ten weeks to germinate. Maybe I tossed the last lot out too soon?

    I have them in a cell tray, which sits in a plastic tray that I water from the bottom. I have killed more seedlings by letting them dry out than by fungal disease from overwatering - and this way I can keep them moist easily. They are in a shade house to keep the humdity up too. I add a splash of worm wee to the water I use - with a spray bottle.

    The last lot shared space with cabbage, tamarillo and eggplant - all of which germinated and got big enough to prick out. So I must have got something right.

    My seeds came from Eden about 6 months ago and they live in the kitchen when I'm not planting stuff.

    As for ditching the female ones - don't get me started!

    I'll let you know if it works this time..... If not then I'm off to get vermiculite and try soaking the seeds first. At this rate it'll be autumn before I get seedlings to go in the ground.....
     
  4. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    eco4560
    My seeds germinated v.. quickly under 2 weeks I think; they shot up to 6" and stopped.
    They seemed to take alot of misting, although small thy have hundreds of tiny leaves and would dry out quicly I gess.
    Perhaps the variety (Mary Whasington??)

    I would't put any worm wee in the water until plants were good and up (You never know where it has been ;) )

    An internet mate sows his seed in scorea, Sounds like that might siot yo I will try and find the details and post them

    jayjay
    Good question How do you sex an asparagus? (I will refrain, here, from being inappropriate ;) )
    I don't know.
    I guess the ones that berry (F) are tossed, and, hopefully, you would only buy males.
    Personally i like the idea of collecting some seed from the females to start new plants or share around.
    It seems more natural and a lot fairer on the fair sex. :)

    I have grown a couple of plants once before, but this is my first serious foray into getting enough for a meal at the table.
    They were as tough as old boots when I grew them before and grew in lousy dry soil and thrived on neglect.
    I guess that inspired me + the idea of replacing some of the ubiquitous male fern around the place with something productive.
    Asparagus can be very attractive plants even in the ornamental garden.
     
  5. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    I have grown asparagus from seed before on a few occasions and have always had great germination. I can remember the instructions mentioned 'sporadic germination' etc.

    It has always been great for me but this has been in Northern Tropical Australia and I have grown direct and via the seed/transplant method. Asparagus is a great tropical plant and very forgiving once established.

    If I were south I would definitely try a few in hothouse damp conditions to get them started. From memory they germinate in about 14 days but soaking the seed first might help.

    I saw the Gardening Aus section today on asparagus and I didnt know about salt and I didnt know about the female plant thing. Are they lower in production or something. I can say having been involved in 11 acres of commercial production over a few years. No one ever mentioned it..

    Cheers,

    ho-hum
     
  6. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    SALT! Yes, i meant to mention that was the other thing i learned.
    A good thing to know for the seaside garden- even as an ornamental asparagus is nice.

    I have a nutty web-friend who drinks some diluted (50/50 ?) sea water every day .
    He reckons there are zillions of trace elements in it; some can't be found elsewhere.
    I have heard of people using diluted seawater on some plants.(Brassicas?).
    It wold be an interesting experiment to try to sea (pardon the pun) if you got a better plant if given the occasional dose of dilute seawater (?) (I read of anew lawn-grass that can be watered with pure salt water the other day)
    Now why did he put salt on the soil again? (Was it to stop fungus? My Alzheimer's is kicking in.)
     
  7. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    Organic Gardening by Peter Bennett, has a good section on growing asparagus. I'm sure he mentions the salt and has a lot to say about using seaweed on his asparagus. From memory he uses fresh unwashed seaweed as a mulch. Can you even get fresh unwashed seaweed anymore?
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    Yes Graham - it's free. You go to the beach after a storm.... I'm guessing that NatraKelp or similar would have the same goodness?

    Apparently you can tell the girls by the berries. So given that the crowns are a year old when you buy them I figure they've tossed anything that grew berries before they sell them to you.
     
  9. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    How many tonnes do you want delivered?
     
  10. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    The salt is facinating - I intend to give it a try. I did hear some years ago (was it Peter Cundal?) that beetroot enjoyed the water from cooking corned beef and salt was the key to that.
    Do you think this gives any credence to salt based fertilizers that have been maligned for so long?
    regards Mark
    intent-observation-intuition
     
  11. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    Purple,

    Without a scientific gene in my brave body I will make the following statement.

    Chemically, there is a difference between sodium and salt.... There, I dunnit and got it out... :)

    I think I make that statement on behalf of Epsom Salts and kitchen salts, seaweed stuff, saltbush etc. I do not believe these solids are as much of an issue as the hidden load in a lot of aussie water and soluble fertiliser. I always check sodium levels in everything from Soda Water to frozen pies etc... Whilst I have mentioned Urea, Superphosphates etc in my writings I know they contain soluble salts in quantities I cannot digest or handle. I avoid their use.

    So, from one scientifically poor perspective..

    Cheers, ho-hum
     
  12. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    I've always looked at all minerals as a "salt" (not necessarily always correct) but i use the term salt to refer to sodium (comes in 2kg packets in the supermarket and makes good weed killer and ant deterent in paths :D )
     
  13. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    Thanks guys -oils aint oils eh :?:
     
  14. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    No, iols are someting completely different altogether... :D
     
  15. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    Thanks Eric - edit completed
     
  16. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Growing Asparagus

    :eek:fftopic:?
    Seen first here
    https://hypography.com/forums/science-ne ... atoes.html
    But complete article here:-
    https://www.nutraingredients.com/Researc ... h-tomatoes
    They don't give the exact amount of seawater used; and were experimenting on a GE plant. Seawater contains hundreds of trace elements etc.

    During the even-worse part of the drought i experimented with eco-friendly washing machine powders/liquids. One (from Colgate?) seemed to kill many plants ( the grey water that is). When I wrote to the manufacturer they told me how much salt it contained (a VAST surprising amount).
    I guess many of these formulations are made for the hard water of Europe (and Americas?) and they don't bother to change it for such a small market as Australia.
    I noticed also that European Dishwashers have a spot to place a cup or two of salt. It must make for very toxic greywater.
     
  17. newcroft

    newcroft Junior Member

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  18. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Bligh cooks up sales for asparagus grower

    https://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/conten ... 715139.htm
    :)
     

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