Green asparagus

I’ve bought green asparagus some years ago. Haven’t eaten them yet, because i wanted thème to grow big first. One of them made berries! I believe thé other ones are males. I grow them in thé greenhouse. There were four kinds.
I have no idea if they cross easily.
I’d like to grow them out next year.

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I think asparagus is insect pollinated so crossing is highly likely. If you’re wanting to increase the asparagus patch growing from your own seed is a great way to go.

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Was it @Alma who was also working on asparagus? I love asparagus, I’m always interested to follow the projects.

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I looked for asparagus using thé search bar, but found nothing, so created a new subject. Would be nicer if it were just one topic.

I collected thousands of seeds when I was working it the pear orchards (southern Oregon). Mostly from clones that were planted many years ago, some from plants that had probably sprouted on their own.

I have sent many seeds to a few of you and still have plenty.

I had a few plants in pots at the old house, there wasn’t room on the Uhaul and I doubt the renters watered them through the summer.

The mature plants produce so many seeds. My goal was to breed for faster germination and delayed fiber for tiny tree micro greens.

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@Alma : I am planting the asparagus and pear seeds you sent me (for stratification, obviously) today. It will be fun to see how these asparagus germinate etc. All my asparagus plants are seed-started and only 1-2 years of age. These will be fun to add to the mix! Many thank yous :heart_eyes:

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@Bizarro
I haven’t sprouted any asparagus recently, but they grew great last year, had to have been close to 100%, and some of the seeds are fresh. I doubt germ has gone down much but let me know how they do.

@Alma : You got it. First 4" flats put out last night. It would appear I’ll have roughly 4-6 more flats give or take. I’m quite excited. To me,
strawberries/rhubarb/ and asparagus are the ‘must haves’ of the perennial temperate garden. I have been working over the feeble strawberry patch the previous stewards left here. I am am sowing more rhubarb flats again this year - I have two EFN varieties and then a phenotype from my dear friend Ken Asmus up at Oikos in Michigan.

Anywho, I will definitely let you know how those seeds go. I imagine your spot on: asparagus is a very forgiving and hardy seed.

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I still have one last remaining asparagus bed from my grandmother, my mother remembers harvesting asparagus from it when she was a child in the 1930s. Likely those plants are offspring of the original plants, but seeds harvested from them became the nucleus of my asparagus landrace. I have been collecting seeds from wild and possibly escaped asparagus from all over my area as well as from neighbors’ patches and from various old and new cultivars I have been acquiring over the years. All the nongardeners around here are getting rid of their old asparagus beds and other old plantings now as younger generations take over the farms. It seems fewer and fewer people value such things, a sad loss borne of ignorance and apathy.

I harvest seed every year, using it to start a flat of transplants and scattering the rest of the seed to the wild. As a result I have various strains of asparagus growing everywhere. An excellent low-effort, low-input perennial food source which is pretty much fully locally adapted other than my most recent introductions to it. What is kinda cool is I will put five or so seeds in each cell of the flat, when all germinate and sprout I can quickly see variation in color in the forest of tiny stems and foliage as the plants develop, the diversity expresses itself very quickly. I think this is the closest landrace to wild and self-perpetuating that I have in my possession, which makes sense given most of the seed sources.

[Edit to Add] For those focused on such things, asparagus is a food plant that is naturally extremely well adapted to intense weed and grass pressures, being found growing wild in the highway ditches all over around here. I have it thriving in brushy areas that I struggle to access even just for seed collection.

Photo from 2022 shows a less diverse patch of asparagus that I started several decades ago and is still going strong. I think I should chop out some crowns so I can plant in some new transplants to increase the diversity for wild crossing but it is easier to just use it for food production and start more beds elsewhere.

Old photo shows a small asparagus harvest from a year or two ago. The 2023 harvest should begin in 4 weeks or so here but who knows this year. I have so much asparagus growing everywhere at this point I do not even harvest most of it because I get weary of it rather quickly. Nice to know it is there for harvesting if I ever needed it, though, and food security is why I keep planting more of it. My favorite spring meal is asparagus and wild ramp omelettes, grilled fiddleheads add a nice touch, morel mushrooms added as well when I am lucky enough to be able to harvest some of them. I am making myself hungry talking about this food…

Note one asparagus stalk in the harvest photo is exhibiting signs of fasciation. I have seen a fair amount of fasciation in the stems of various plants, no negatives from a food quality standpoint from what I have seen. Seems more genetic than environmental in this case but I am not fully educated on this phenomena.


image

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Do you think fasciation is more common than it used to be? Seems to me it is, but it could just be that I pay more attention to such things than I used to. I’m also not well educated about it and have wondered if it is genetic or environmental.

I had a plant in my garden last year that exhibited it in the extreme, instead of two, it had several divisions to the stems. I saved its seeds separately and also saved it as a clone to plant this year, just out of curiosity. I suppose if its seed offspring are similar, it will show that it is indeed genetic.

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I am same as you, I find it common here but now that I know what it is when I see it I tend to see it more often. I have seen it in dandelions, ears of various corn types, tomatoes, rhubarb, wildflowers, asparagus, other stuff.

I suspect it is bacterial or viral related, but I have seen old photos and have read old papers from the 1920s regarding fasciation in dent corn ears and how farmers had been continually making efforts to select it out as far back as the 1800s. Now breeders are experimenting with developing fasciated ears on purpose as a way to increase yield. A very interesting subject, though off topic.

Nice patch Tom! Have you considered keeping them for later in like apple cider vinagre or salty broth? I guess fermenting is not an option, but who knows.
I’ve just had my first harvest of two asperges, which i shared with my lady. Haha!
My neighbor said i need to scrape the green skin off, is that really a thing?

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Not necessary unless you prefer eating very pale asparagus.

The skin does not need to be peeled for consumption. It is a very simple vegetable to harvest and prepare. Excellent grilled or cooked lightly over a fire. I like pickled asparagus spears but the smaller diameter spears are the best for pickling and I do not get many of those. I chop and freeze some of the harvest but I find frozen asparagus gets a bit slimy. I think asparagus is one of those foods best eaten fresh and when in season.

I have always preferred the old concepts of eating local and when in season, the way humans did things up until the creation of the global supply networks of modern times. A person really learns to appreciate those wonderful harvests when they come around, especially in springtime after a long winter of eating preserved food and produce put up in storage.

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I have heard that asparagus is difficult to grow where i am, in heavy clay soil. And i have heard that it is hard to dig a hole deep enough for the asparagus. If i grow from seed, and with genetically diverse seed, would you expect that these factors wouldnt be a challenge?

I have adobe clay and my asparagus patch though small is very productive. I planted them so that the roots were completely covered and I simply add a layer of horse manure (I have a horse) every fall to fertilize and keep moisture in the soil. Eventually the soil level rises which also helps with drainage. The only time I lost small asparagus plants is when my chickens decided to dig for worms in the patch. I have since fenced it off.

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I made refrigerator vinegar pickles by pouring hot brine and vinegar over fresh asparagus. I used nice finger sized stems and the pickles have held up all winter and are really tasty. The purple shoots turn the vinegar a pink color and they fade some but turn out really pretty. Best of all because they aren’t actually cooked they stay crispy.

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Photo taken today shows a portion of the second harvest of my landrace asparagus. I gave these away to some elderly folks in the nearby town who I know sincerely appreciate such a gift. The asparagus harvest is just beginning, I know there will be far more than I can eat before getting tired of it and I do not care for it pickled or frozen.

Fiddlehead harvest season has ended but I am still harvesting wild ramps, nettle greens, lovage, young walking onions from fall-planted topsets, green garlic from fall-planted cloves, and hosta pips. Horseradish greens harvest starting in a couple of days.

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I’ve never thought of eating horseradish greens. At what stage do you harvest them? Ours is already up I’d say 18 inches or so, is it too late or are the fresh greens good regardless? How do you use the greens?

Hosta and asparagus are pretty much done, time to just let them be for the season. I always pick a spot and broadcast tones of little garlic bulbils real thick and next spring use them like green onions, or cooked in various ways, they are the best garlic of all, I think.

I keep growing walking onions because I just do, but all of mine are so very hot flavored that we don’t like them very much. For the last two years some of them have tried to make seeds. Pods or capsules or whatever they are called formed and looked just like any onion but contained no seeds. They didn’t abort and dry up; they were just empty. Some plants made few or no topsets. I put those that tried to make seed in a bed with a bunch of other onions and they are all blooming right now. Maybe if they don’t make seeds themselves, they will pollinate the others.