Fresh asparagus is delicious, and easy to grow in your home garden. Here are tips on growing asparagus from seed, either by direct sowing in your garden or by starting the seeds indoors.
Direct seeding outdoors
- The best time to plant asparagus seeds is around mid- April to the end of May, when the ground has warmed up a bit.
- Soaking the seeds for 24 hours prior to planting is beneficial.
- Once the bed has been prepared and raked, sow the seed into thin rows down to a depth of about 2 inches.
- Depending on how many plants you intend to have in your garden, each row should be between 12 and 18 inches apart.
- Water well if conditions are dry.
- The new seedlings should emerge in about 3 weeks, and as soon as they are large enough they can be thinned out to about 2in apart. Then, once the seedlings reach about 6 inches high, they can be thinned out again to around 18 inches apart.
- Be sure to keep the asparagus bed watered and weeded.
Starting the seeds indoors
- Planting asparagus seeds indoors can be done any time between February and March.
- Soak the seeds for at least a couple of hours, then plant them into individual pots containing moist potting soil.
- Place them in a warm room, then, once they have germinated, move the tiny plants to a cool, light area such as a windowsill, keeping them out of direct sunlight.
- Once the threat of frosts are over they will need to be gradually accustomed to conditions outside – this known as ‘hardening off’ and can take between 2-3 weeks.
- Once they are ready to be moved out into the prepared asparagus bed, they can to be planted fairly deeply leaving a couple of inches of soil above the level of the soil.
- Keep them watered over the summer and always keep the bed free of weeds, especially perennial weeds which will compete with your seedlings roots for nutrients.
Plan to harvest asparagus grown from seed in three years. This is an extra year of waiting as most roots or crowns are sold as two year olds. However the cost savings are significant and you can enjoy the process of growing your own.
For more information on organic gardening, please see http://www.OrganicGardening.com.
A great place to find asparagus seeds, along with many other types of seeds is at Victory Seeds. They specialize in hard to find, unusual and heirloom seeds and can be found at http://www.victoryseeds.com. A very affordable package of 30 Mary Washington asparagus seeds is $2.25.