When are asparagus seeds ripe?

trh701(z4sd)August 9, 2007

My asparagus bed is full of ferny leaves and many have seeds. How do I know when the seeds are ripe enough to pick and save to plant next year? Since I am in zone 4 I am planning to plant them in the house in March and then transplant in May or June.

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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Don't worry next year you'll have plenty of asparagus seedlings growing everywhere:) Between Mother Nature and the birds I pull dozens of them every summer.

However, when the berries turn red in the fall, they're ripe for planting.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 1:51PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Gus readily reseeds itself. ;) When the ferns begin to brown and die they will fall over (or you can just lay them on the bed when you mow it in the fall) and the ripe berries will overwinter in the soil (they require a moist cold period - stratification) and resprout all on their own in the spring.

Enjoy your asparagus.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 2:11PM
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The new hybrid varieties of asparagus, the Jersey series which produces only male plants, are so productive and it is so cheap to buy the root crowns that I view the seeds and little seedlings from the older varieties as weeds. An established bed will produce at least 10 or 15 years from your existing rootstock, and each year the yield expands as the root stock grows. The problems with seedlings are twofold. First, because they seed themselves, the root crowns set very shallow, and thus are not very productive. When you plant a new bed from roots you gradually fill in your planting trenches to bury the roots 8 to 12 inches deep. Second many of the plants from seeds will be female which most commercial growers will routinely pull because they are less productive.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 10:01AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

I totally agree with Hines. The males are far more productive. I planted 40 all male Jersey giants and 20 purple passion 4 yrs ago. I wound up with about 12 females which produced 100's of weeds...I mean seedlings every year. I finally yanked the females last yr and replaced them with males. It'll be a couple of years before I'll get a significant amount of gus from those crowns but it's better than having the bed over run by the less productive females.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 5:05PM
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hercules(PA 6a)


Both Peggy's and Hines' advice is right on the money. They're both obviously experienced 'gus growers who've seen the difference in bed health and vastly increased production between the older varieties of asparagus and the newer "all male" ones.

One thing to remember, aside from (but related to) the advice they offered is that 'gus doesn't appreciate competition from weeds. The new plants generated from 'gus berries are essentially "weeds"...and Peggy "pegged" (pun intended) them as such. LOL! Hines' last three sentences caution about the same, but in different terms (although he, too, refers to them as weeds).

My point? Forget the seeds, yank any "weeds" created by the volunteers, and buy quality all-male crowns if your desire is to create a larger bed. As Hines further alludes to, the production of the Jersey Hybrids is several times greater than any of the older varieties containing female plants.

Happy 'gus growing!

Cordially offered,

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 5:41PM
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susandonb(NC 7)

Hi, This is just the thread I was looking for but I still have a couple of questions. I have lots of red berries and have cut them out of my bed but left the crowns. I bought my crowns this past early Spring and was told I was buying all male crowns. I have discovered three of 12 are female cause I got lots of berries. They are 2 year old crowns when I bought them. I want to start the seed to move into a new, second bed next year, I want tons of GUS!!!! So my question is, if the berries are red now, should I store them in my unheated garage or take them off the stems and keep them in some type container till February when I sow them in my cold frames?

OR...should I prepare the raised bed now that they will live in permanatly and sow them there in, March? Or maybe now, let the seeds winter in the ground like being put there by nature, will they come up in Spring?

Thank you,

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:20PM
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hercules(PA 6a)


My heart goes out to you. For goodness sake, please reread this thread in its entirety and try to absorb what these folks are saying.

You said, "I want tons of GUS!!!!" Susan, you won't get it with your mindset of wanting to play with those dang berries. Please ditch them, and buy some new crowns of Jersey Knights or another of the all male Jersey varieties. It's too bad that you got 25% females, but stuff happens sometimes. Your case is a rarity.

Again, ditch the females, buy a few more male crowns, and get yourself on the road to your desired "tons of GUS!!!!".

Susan, I sincerely apologize in advance if I come across as condescending or gruff, but this subject has been beat to death. If one wants a vigorous, heavy producing 'gus bed....female/berried plants = BAD. All male crowns such as the various Rutgers developed Jersey varieties = GOOD!

Now...have you re-read this thread from the top? Or are you still focused on the pretty berries? ~smile~

Cordially offered,


    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 7:34PM
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susandonb(NC 7)

Some of us just like to be stubborn. :)

Ok, so where do you suggest I buy 2 year old crowns? And I hope you do not suggest where I ordered my last ones cause I paid good money for them and was told they were all males and got 3 females. I also bought other items from this place and when I tired to get a refund I was ignored. Never did get my money back.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 7:47PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Out of stock many places now but come spring most any seed supplier has them. Gurney's, Henry Fields, Johnnys, Vessy, Thompson-Morgan, Reimers, Parks, etc.

Henry Field's

Johnny's Seeds


    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:04PM
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susandonb(NC 7)

Ok, OK, you all wore me down. I am throwing away the seeds tomorrow( I might sneak and throw them in my woods, maybe there will be gus out there in 3 years. lol)

I am going with Henry Fields I think they actually sell three year old crowns, how cool is that!

Gonna get the new bed ready this weekend for my new gus family, oh my gosh I am so excited!!!!

Though my adventurous, seed sowing, one with the earth spirit has been a bit squelched, I will recover.

Thanks for the slap upside the head, everybody.

Harvest Hugs,
Susan in NC

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 3:42AM
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Why does Henry Field's have 2 listings for Purple Passion. One says not available in WA and the other doesn't. Same price.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 3:45PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I bought Jersey Knight seeds and raised my own.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 7:07PM
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