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Growing asparagus from seed

Posted by boggers West WA Z 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 9, 08 at 18:33

I have been successful using this method but I need to know if I'm doing something that will give problems later.

First thing I do is count out about 5% more seeds than I have room for in my Jiffy pellet seed-starters. I mix four parts water to one part household bleach in an eight ounce measuring cup and let the seeds soak for a couple of minutes. I pour seeds and solution through a strainer into the drain and rinse the seeds. I put the seeds into an old fashion glass and half fill with water. I take a piece of masking tape and note the seed variety, quantity and date and attach. I change the water and rinse daily. Ten +/- days later they start to germinate.

When the root/shoot is four to five times longer than the seed diameter, I put it into a properly prepared Jiffy-7 pellet and into the seed starter. Then when I have a stalk an inch or so long, I transplant the intact pellet into a five inch pot filled with decent seeding mix. When the stalk ferns out, so far at about five to six inches tall I transfer to my prepared asparagus bed.

From start to finish it has taken less than a month for say, 40% of what I started with. The seeds do not all germinate at the same rate, but I think I'll eventually get close to 95% germination. I have 16 Purple Passion in the ground so far and need to prepare more bed before I can plant the 25 or so I have left.

So far I have done this with Mary Washington, Purple Passion, UC157 F2, Argenteuil and Jersey Giant. Only Mary Washington has failed totally to germinate.

As an experiment I have bypassed the Jiffy pellets and placed sprouted seeds directly into potting soil and achived far less favorable results.

Now, what am I doing that violates all common knowledge? What is going to come back to haunt me later? Has anyone else tried to do it this way?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Growing asparagus from seed

Using jeffy pellets and potting soil should yeald the same results under the same propagating/growing conditions.

RE: Growing asparagus from seed

Try this?

Take your seeds, put em in water, wait until they sprout. If you notice the water looking foul, change it.

Put seeds with water in full light until they sprout.

About Jiffy Pellets. First off the pellets are hard, even packed. Even if you soak them forever, they are still packed.

Try this with Jiffy Pellets: Soak pellets in water until fully expanded. Remove netting from pellet and place into bowl. Using your fingers, mix in water and kneed or seperate the peat until it is well sperated and fluffy.

Plant your sprouted seeds.

RE: Growing asparagus from seed

I don't understand why so many people dislike Jiffy 7 pellets. I have been using them for many years and they always work fine for me. You have to water them from the bottom (I do it daily) and not allow them to dry out, but otherwise I think they are trouble free.
Sorry, kind of straying off topic.

RE: Growing asparagus from seed

I found this thread and need to ask, can someone tell me what is the best way to carry through germinated seeds successfully to 2 year old crowns? I have been sowing for 2 years and had good results but when I moved the young plants out to a raised bed I lost 50% of them. Should they stay in a greenhouse for 2 years? and should they be moved to individual pots, I broadcast the seeds in flat trays. Maybe I should start them in individual cells?

RE: Growing asparagus from seed

Susan - they need to be treated as individuals or a small group of 3-4. Each seedling will form it's own crown - eventually - and a group of 3-4 tiny seedlings will crown-up a bit faster. So you can seed them as you have been for germination but then you have to transplant then in small groups to individual cells or pots for growing on.

They need to be hardened off just like any indoor grown plant before transplanting them and transplanted to the garden in the early spring while still cool and protected from wind and direct sun exposure until they are settled in.


RE: Growing asparagus from seed

Thanks. Will the 3-4 seedlings form one crown?

RE: Growing asparagus from seed

Perfect timing--I'm going to try my first asparagus this year! Question: can you set the seedling out when the plant is very young, much smaller than 5-6 inches? Also, once the seeds have germinated in water and you place them in the pellets can you immediatly place them outside under the protective plastic pellet tray top so you don't have hardening-off issues? I've never hardened off. I'm doing WS this year and I'd like to copy that style with asparagus, if possible, and have them spend time outdoors before putting in the ground.

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