In most cases, growers establish an asparagus field by planting asparagus crowns. This is by far the simplest way to establish asparagus and the method most likely to ensure a successful planting. These crowns are started from seed and are grown in a carefully controlled nursery setting for one or two years before being dug and transplanted into their permanent location.
There are two basic asparagus seed types which are used to produce these crowns. Heirloom varieties such as Mary Washington are open pollinated types of seed. This seed is harvested from blocks of high vigour and high quality plants. These varieties have been available and used successfully by growers for many generations. They offer years of production in a relatively low maintenance environment and are well suited for chemical free operations and backyard enthusiasts.
More recently, a number of hybrid varieties have been developed – a result of many years of intensive research. This seed is produced in a strictly controlled environment ensuring that the selected female seed bearing plants are pollinated only by the pollen from what is referred to as a super male. These varieties, including Guelph Millennium, Jersey Giant and Jersey Knight are showing increased yield potential but often require greater care and maintenance.
There are also several novel types of asparagus, including purple asparagus. The most popular variety of purple asparagus is called Purple Passion, which produces an incredibly attractive and slightly sweeter purple spear.
If you are interested in buying and planting asparagus in your backyard, Sandy Shore Farms can provide you with Millenium and/or Sweet Purple crowns which will help to ensure that your planting gets off to a successful start. To order your crowns, head on over to our shop!