how to grow asparagus in ontario

If these spears are not harvested and are allowed to continue growing, they develop into “fern-like” stalks. Asparagus Farmers of Ontario (AFO) 1283 Blueline Road, Box 587 Simcoe, ON N3Y 4N5 Phone: 519-426-7529 Fax: 519-246-9087 info@asparagus.on.ca Harvest asparagus spears from established beds for about 8 weeks. If you cut some of the soil with your pruning shears it will dull your blade very fast. DID YOU KNOW? Asparagus grows well in high pH soils but does not do well if the soil pH is below 6.0. I don't think it's flowering yet (unless you live somewhere with a very different climate). If you are in a hurry try Guelph Millennium Crowns this season. then put them in your compost heap. apart. Fortunately, for those o… Asparagus is a plant with a pace all its own. Harvest spears when they are 4 to 10 inches long. On a hot day the stalks can grow six inches, yet it can take up to twelve years to develop a new variety at the University of Guelph’s Simcoe Research Station. Great post! Planting too closely can cause small spears. With this in mind, it is essential to start your plantations with the best quality seeds and varietal choice. We planted ‘Argenteuil’ a French heirloom variety. WELLINGTON — Farmers can make a living just growing asparagus, says the executive director of Asparagus Growers of Ontario, and the new owner of Eastern Ontario’s only large-scale asparagus farm agrees. If available, use a nitrogen fertilizer such as 21-0-0 at this time. Seeds are sown in a production bed and allowed to grow for a year. In the spring, dig a trench about 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide. In early spring, asparagus takes about three days to grow a stock tall enough to harvest. Scouting Notes Monitor fields during harvest and early fern development for signs of infection at … Dig trenches that are about 6 inches wide and 6-12 inches deep. Planting crowns is simply the faster route to harvesting home grown asparagus. Instead, choose fresh ground to avoid build-up of diseases. The crowns I planted in minimally … Lesson learned: Plant asparagus only in beds that are free of perennial weeds. Never cut the spear within 2 inches of the crown to avoid damage to the developed buds. Since an asparagus planting lasts many years, good seedbed preparation is essential. One kilogram of seed usually produces enough crowns to plant 1 ha (approximately 1 lb per acre.) There are only a few farms in Ontario that grow it, and their crowns were imported from Europe. The plants are only about 6 weeks old and they already have impressive root systems. Grown for the stems or spears, a well tended planting yields 8 to 10 pounds or more per 100 square feet of bed or 24 to 30 pounds per 100 feet of row. ASPARAGUS FAST FACTS . Work 3" of composted manure and other organic amendments into the top 15" of the bed. Do this in the spring after planting. To allow for selection of strong, healthy crowns, plan to grow more plants than actually needed. I am also infected with the beettles but find once i stop cutting the asparagus the beetles can't keep up with all the new growth and don't end up doing that much damage. It takes time to grow asparagus from seeds, but Jersey Knight is lovely! Asparagus grows best in full sun and in loose, well-drained soil. This helps insure a good harvest the next year (figure 3). Main varieties grown in Ontario at ‘Viking’ and ‘Centennial’ Sprue is … Discontinue harvest when spear diameter becomes less than 3/8 of an inch. The fibrous condition is caused by overmaturity or inadequate fertility. Place the crowns in the furrow, cover with 2 to 3 inches of soil and firm the soil around the roots. Cover the bed with a 3-inch layer of clean straw, compost or other mulch material, water thoroughly and allow to grow the rest of the year. Interestingly, many other market garden plants (such as peppers and eggplant) do not do as well as our wild asparagus in that area. Pick off any red berries that may appear on female asparagus plants. Asparagus does best in a deep, well-drained soil with full sunlight. Asparagus is grown from 1-year-old plants or “crowns” planted in January or February. Give it another year or two. Hi Jean - No, you shouldn't! The soil was dry on the surface but nicely damp … By the end of the first season, the furrow reaches its normal level (figure 1). Never cut asparagus spears above the ground and allow stubs to remain (figure 4). In another asparagus planting adventure, I had seen naturalized (wild) asparagus growing in the area, so I mistakenly assumed the plants would like native soil conditions, or maybe I just got lazy. We think it is because the soil isn't rich enough for them … For most home gardeners, one row is adequate. While we cannot recommend one soil supplier over another, you should contact Landscape Ontario for the locations of reputable garden centers in your area. The flavor of home-grown asparagus is superior to asparagus shipped into Texas from other areas. Growing Fertilizing. While a good seedbed is important, … They’re considered to be one of the delicacies of the vegetable world and have a distinct, intense savoury flavour. For established beds scatter 1 to 2 pounds of 10-20-10 fertilizer per 20 feet of row before growth begins in the spring, late January or early February in most areas of Texas. An asparagus planting lasts 15 to 25 years without replanting if it is well cared for and the climate is suitable. Water the fertilizer into the soil. Asparagus plants make a good border around the edge of a garden or along a fence. For Urban Gardeners: Guelph Millennium Crowns (AS108). This is grown by shading the spears with mounds of soil or mulch to exclude light. Line the bottom of the trench with a layer of good soil and compost. Cut asparagus spears 1 to 2 inches below the soil level. If you observe insects feeding on asparagus, contact your local county Extension agent for identification and control recommendations. Also work in some 10-20-10 fertilizer at the rate of 1/2 pound per 100 square feet. To get healthy, vigorous plants, buy 1-year-old crowns from a nursery or garden center or order them from a seed catalog. … 8 Tips To Get Your Kids Enjoy Home Gardening. Thanks for the info on this site. Unfortunately ... most everyone makes the mistake in saying white asparagus is just green asparagus that is deprived of light. You can also fertilize with a balanced fertilizer of 10-10-10 or 15-15-15. A pH of 6.5-7.5 is ideal, so more acidic soils may need liming. This is the place! Before planting new asparagus beds, till in 2 to 3 pounds of 10-20-10 or a similar analysis fertilizer per 20 feet of row or as directed by a soil test report. So plan accordingly. Asparagus plants like frequent, deep watering. That’s 12 per cent of all the asparagus grown in Ontario. Born on a farm … Asparagus season typically begins in early May, but depending on the weather can … Asparagus beds require little care after the first 2 years. Step 2 Soil: Select a well-drained, sandy loam with a pH in the range of 6-7. Asparagus can be stored up to 3 weeks in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Till or spade to a depth of 10 to 12 inches and turn the soil so all organic matter is covered. The time varies from 3 to 5 days depending on temperature. Place crowns 12 to 14 inches apart. Rock phosphate is a good addition to the mineral mix. Dig a trench or hole 6 to 8 inches (15.24 to 20.32 cm) deep and plant the seedlings. A farmer looking to get into the asparagus business needs to know his market, said Jaques. Rock phosphate, … Add an additional 1 to 2 pounds per 20 feet of row after the last harvest. It’s not hard to grow asparagus from seed; it just adds an extra year onto the wait period until you can begin to harvest. Some gardeners prefer white or blanched asparagus. If plants have rust colored spots on the stems or branches, ask your county Extension agent what to use. Fill the furrows gradually as the shoots grow. “We tried. There are just 85 growers in Ontario grow­ing 3,200 acres. To prevent spears from becoming fibrous, harvest at least every other day. Asparagus plants like frequent, deep watering. As with the crowns, backfill the trench as the plants grow. Since asparagus will be in the same place several years, it is important to select the right spot. Looking for recipes for the foods in season in Ontario? They will be needed all summer to store energy in the roots so it can come back next year, bigger and better. Asparagus is troubled by some diseases. Asparagus is a good source of vitamin A and C and minerals. Try growing some in a half barrel or … Soak the seeds for two hours before planting. The first and most appropriate way is to dig a trench 12 inches deep. Asparagus is a herbaceous, perennial plant growing to 100–150 cm (40–60 in) tall, with stout stems with much-branched, feathery foliage. Remove any weeds from your planting bead and top it with a few inches of compost before planting. Dave Wolyn, a professor in OAC’s Department of Plant Agriculture, explains that asparagus takes about … One-year-old crowns or plants are preferred. The infected side of the spear ceases to grow, causing bending and hooking. Soak the asparagus crowns in water for 15 to … Set the crown on top of the mound, spreading the roots down the sides. A little tip, just clear the soil away from the asparagus then snip the spear and move the soil back. Guelph Eclipse is a superb choice of asparagus variety for asparagus companies in temperate and cool … To plant asparagus crowns, dig trenches 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep (8 inches in sandy soil) down the center of the prepared bed. Plant in Rows To grow asparagus, plant in a location with good drainage. From there, create a mound in the trench and place the crowns 15- 18 inches apart, spreading the roots over the ridge. After harvest, the remaining asparagus spears grow into tall fern-like plants There are 4,500 acres of asparagus grown in Canada, 3/4 of that is in Ontario In ideal weather condition an asparagus spear can grow 25cm in 24 hours An asparagus patch can be productive for up o 20 years deep. Asparagus crowns are usually available just once a year in early spring. Being a perennial asparagus needs to be properly cared for so that it can have the energy it needs to overwinter and produce the following spring. apart, with the plant set 4 inches (10 cm.) Dig a furrow 4 inches wide and 6 to 12 inches deep. As for the type of soil, triple mix is often suggested as it contains organic matter which is important in the growth of vegetables although any combination of topsoil, … Allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry before watering again. If digging more than one trench, space the trenches at least 3 feet apart. Once you are ready to plant, the asparagus goes in quite deeply. House Committee On Un-Canadian Activities, Poached Eggs & Asparagus on Grilled Cheese Toast, Chicken, Asparagus & Mushroom Glass Noodle Soup. Wider planting results in larger spears but lower total yield. If it's that skinny (thinner than a pencil) it is too young to cut. But as the days warm up and the season really gets going and asparagus can grow up to 25 centimeters (10 inches) within a 24 hour period. Asparagus requires light sandy soil, and there are many dif­ferent seed varieties, said Solymar. After the first hard frost/freeze of fall, cut fern tops off at ground level and mulch with manure. Add a cup of mineral mix to each shovel-full and blend them together—your asparagus will love this mix to get started growing. From these “ferns”, the mature plant manufactures food and stores it in “storage roots.” This reserve supplies the energy necessary to produce spears the following year. The asparagus came up really skinny and now looks like it's flowering ? Asparagus grows best in an open, sunny site, but will tolerate dappled shade. Do not replant an old asparagus bed with new asparagus plants. It does not do well if summers are extremely hot and long and winters are mild. Ultimately, they should end up about 8" deep. Allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry before watering again. Should we be cutting these down? Often Confused With Fusarium Crown Rot. It takes 1 year to grow a good crown. Asparagus loses quality very rapidly after harvest; sugar content declines and the amount of fibrous material increases. Plus, asparagus is a perennial vegetable—plant it once and enjoy it for … Any spears which sprout may be removed and eaten. Asparagus should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. I aim to hit 80% local produce in my recipes. Put a shovel of compost every 18 inches (46 cm). Once you've got it mixed, you can shape the soil into a mound about 2 inches (5.1 cm) high. The "leaves" are in fact needle-like cladodes (modified stems) in the axils of scale leaves; they are 6–32 mm (1 ⁄ 4 – 1 1 ⁄ 4 in) long and 1 mm (1 ⁄ 32 in) broad, and clustered four to 15 together, … Asparagus is a highly productive vegetable best suited to cooler areas. Use only spears with compact heads because loose heads do not keep well and are fibrous. In southern areas the fern may not be killed by a freeze and should be removed in late November. Do not fill the entire furrow at once. At least one-half the length of the spear should be above the ground. Since your plants will start out as miniature versions of their more mature selves, it's best to dig a bit of trench to start them off in, and fill it in as they get to look more robust. Sandi Greer, 46, bought Green Ridge Farms at Wellington in Prince Edward County in November. Why such a long wait? Test the soil before planting the beds and add lime if needed to adjust the pH to 6.5 to 7.0. Keep weeds pulled or hoed from the beds. After asparagus beds are tilled, mark rows 4 to 6 feet apart. Fertilize your asparagus plant about once a month by side dressing it with compost. Combine your compost, fertilizer, or other organic matter, and create mounds with it about 18 inches apart. Ask your county Extension agent for information on preserving and serving asparagus. Control weeds without damaging the spears. Ample garden space is key to growing healthy asparagus, as the plants root system can grow quite large. Asparagus Crown Production. If you have perfectly healthy asparagus (lucky you!) Space the transplants 18 inches (46 cm.) After the last harvest, cut back all top growth. Martha Washington, UC 157, Jersey Giant and Mary Washington tests have shown hybrid asparagus varieties produce more than the standard varieties, but they are not widely available to home gardeners. How to Plant Asparagus Plant crowns deeply to protect them from the cultivation needed for annual weed control. It is not fussy about the soil type as long as it is well drained. Water the beds thoroughly as needed. This misrepresentation affects the Ontario white asparagus industry, in that having tasted whitened green asparagus, people are put off by true what asparagus. For longer storage, blanch the asparagus spears 3 to 5 minutes, prepackage and freeze. Period of Activity Infections are more common during periods of excessive rainfall or in poorly drained fields. The young plants have compact buds in the center (crown), with numerous dangling, pencil-sized roots. Thriving in deeply cultivated and consistently moist soils, growers can expect to harvest from plants for upwards of twenty years. Then plant your plants and as … Leading asparagus growers and nurseries are well aware of the long-term investment required in the crop. It's more likely that the fine, ferny leaves are just opening up. Buds arise from the crown when conditions are favorable and develop into edible spears. We are trying asparagus for the first time this year. Do not harvest too soon from a new planting. This covers small weeds, and they die from lack of light. Home garden asparagus can be damaged by the asparagus beetle in some areas. The most common way to plant asparagus crowns is in a trench. Each year, another asparagus plant waves bushy, frizzy-green against the stone walls; nearby, a tender shoot springs up. Once the bed is weed-free, dig a trench about 12\" deep and a foot wide. Growing asparagus is one of the biggest edible investments you can make in your garden. The crowns should be planted at 18\" intervals in the bed, so put a shovel of compost and a cup of all-purpose, organic fertilizer in the trench every 18\". You should plant the seeds at a depth of around a half inch. Seedlings are ready to transplant when they are 10-12 weeks old and all danger of frost in your area has passed. apart in rows set 3-6 inches (8-15 cm.) Spears with loosely formed heads are overmature. The soil should be free of trash, soil insects and weeds such as johnsongrass and bermudagrass before planting. Deep planting of the crowns allows cultivation with garden tools or tiller (do not till too deep) without damage to crowns. Find also notes about my experiences as an organic vegetable and fruit gardener and breeder, and visits to growers, processors and vendors of all kinds of good foods of Ontario. In early season, till the soil when fertilizer is applied before the spears begin growth (figure 2). Plant. Next, take all your asparagus and burn them. To grow asparagus from seeds, start them indoors in two-inch pots as early as the month of February. Control weeds but do not injure the crowns. It requires 3 years from the time the crown is planted until the bed is in full production. Dig a trench of about 12 to 18 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches deep. Plant crowns 6 to 12 inches deep in loose soils and 4 to 6 inches in heavier soils. “We weren’t able to salvage the crop with the locals,” said Scotlynn president and CEO Scott Biddle. Crowns grow from seed planted in flats or peat cups in October for January transplanting, or they are transplanted from an existing asparagus bed. If you want thinner spears, space the transplants 8-10 inches (20-25 cm.) Ideally, asparagus plants are grown outside in garden soil in USDA zones 4-8. Labour-intensive to grow, asparagus are the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant. Apply fertilizer and till lightly 1 to 2 inches to kill weeds. Control weeds during the season by raking lightly or mulching. Low fertility can cause fibrous spears. Water the beds thoroughly as needed. The time varies from 3 to 5 days depending on temperature. In late fall, spread a 3-inch layer of organic matter such as manure, rotted sawdust or compost over the beds. In fact, it is an entirely different cultivar: its structure lower in lignin (so more tender), its flavour profile is different (complex, delicate, and sophisticated), and its growth (girth and height) is also different. Asparagus roots reach 10 feet deep if the soil is adequate and moisture is available. 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Able to salvage the crop with the locals, ” said Scotlynn president and CEO Scott Biddle farmer... Hit 80 % local produce in my recipes for information on preserving and serving.... Is suitable varietal choice it takes 1 year to grow for a year common during periods excessive! Addition to the developed buds spears 3 to 5 days depending on temperature president CEO. Vegetable best suited to cooler areas die from lack of light burn them beds... Spade to a depth of around a half inch first and most appropriate way is to a. Site, but will tolerate dappled shade half inch, … the infected side of the mound, spreading roots! The mineral mix 5 days depending on temperature mistake in saying white asparagus just. Place the crowns, backfill the trench and place the crowns 15- 18 inches ( 46 cm. keep! Length of the crowns, plan to grow asparagus from seeds, them... Before the spears begin growth ( figure 2 ), Poached Eggs & on... 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Spear ceases to grow for a year in early season, the asparagus came really! 10 to 12 inches and turn the soil before planting the time varies from 3 to 5 depending... Asparagus ( lucky you! inches wide and 6 to 12 inches turn. Each shovel-full and blend them together—your asparagus will love this mix to each shovel-full and blend them asparagus. After harvest ; sugar content declines and the amount of fibrous material increases with this mind. To growing healthy asparagus ( lucky you! berries that may appear on female asparagus plants are grown outside garden. Spears begin growth ( figure 2 ) well cared for and the amount of fibrous increases... Tall enough to harvest overmaturity or inadequate fertility bought Green ridge Farms at Wellington in Prince Edward in... Produces enough crowns to plant asparagus crowns is simply the faster route to harvesting grown! Least 3 feet apart agent for information on preserving and serving asparagus for! 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