Asparagus Purple Passion question

plympton_ma(z6B MA)February 13, 2010

Having only recently discovered the joy of asparagus, I would like to plant some this Spring. I will only have room for a smaller planting, limited to one variety.

Several times this past season, we enjoyed broiled green asparagus. As I look into the best variety for the home gardener to plant, I see rave reviews for Purple Passion. However, most reviews describe it as "best raw" and having a "nutty flavor" when cooked.

Not planning on incorporating raw asparagus into my diet---since I am so enthralled with it broiled---I am concerned that I may not appreciate a "nutty" flavor.

Not sure whether to play it safe and go with a green variety such as Jersey Knight or not. Any help here? :-)


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I think when they say "best raw" they mean that if you are going to eat any of them raw, this one would be best. They don't mean that it is best eaten raw. It reportedly has a slightly higher sugar content, making it all the more tasty as a raw, or cooked, vegetable. I wouldn't worry about the "nutty" flavor aspect. If anything, it's just a small hint in the flavor. I'm going to start some from seed this Spring, along with Jersey Giant. Possibly Guelph Millenium as well.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 6:35PM
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plympton_ma(z6B MA)

"Best raw""" got it! Thanks. No matter how many times I read that, I interpreted it the same each time.

Follow-up question: since this variety contains both male and female plants, is there anything to be gained by culling the female plants as they appear?

Per the Nourse Farms spacing instructions, this variety should be planted much closer than others 6"-8" in the row. If I pull out the female plants, though sacrificing yield am I saving myself the headache of volunteers?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 7:30PM
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Male plants will yield more/larger spears since they don't spend so much energy producing berries and seeds. Also, the seeds that the females do drop in considerable numbers can generate alot of unwanted volunteers, which can choke your asparagus bed. So you have to be vigilant about removing any kind of seedlings popping up in your patch, which you should anyway. You can select for males only, or just forget about that, raise healthy plants, and harvest what you will.
Remember that asparagus will spread out and fill your bed. I won't plant them any closer than a foot apart in a 4-foot wide bed, with just one row down the middle. Maybe you can plant them closer but they'll just crowd themselves out sooner. I prefer to have productive plants instead of doubling the number of plants, crowding and stressing them to get 5% more yield.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 7:47PM
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plympton_ma(z6B MA)


After a bit more reading and seeing images of the stalk size of Purple Passion, I think I'm going to stick with one of the Jersey males.

Have a great season and thanks for the replies!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 9:01PM
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