Asparagus Crown Production

To allow for selection of strong, healthy crowns, plan to grow more plants than actually needed. One kilogram of seed usually produces enough crowns to plant 1 ha (approximately 1 lb per acre.)

Select a well-drained, sandy loam with a pH in the range of 6-7. While a good seedbed is important, avoid over preparation. Asparagus seeds are slow to germinate and are quite susceptible to crusting and soil structure problems.

Soak seed in 32º C (90º F) water for 3-4 days. Soaking starts the germination process by softening the seed coat. Soaked seed will emerge up to one week earlier than un-soaked. The benefits of soaking are particularly apparent when planting into cooler soil temperatures. Treating the seed in cooler water conditions (i.e. room temperature) does not offer the same germination benefits.

Dry and plant immediately after soaking. Nursery fields are usually planted in mid-to-late May. The optimum soil temperature range is 15-30º C (60 to 85º F.)

Row Spacing: 45-60 cm (18-24")
In-Row Spacing: 8-10 cm (3-4")
Depth: 2.5-4 cm (1-1.5")
Rate: Approximately 11 kg/ha (10lbs/acre)

Broadcast 75 kg actual Nitrogen/ha (68 lbs./acre) prior to planting. An additional 50 kg/ha (45 lbs./acre) may be applied as a side-dressed application in August.

Apply Phosphate and Potash according to soil test recommendations.

Dig crowns in the early spring, before the buds begin to grow. Avoid damaging the roots and select only the healthy crowns with plump buds and strong roots. Discard undersized and damaged crowns. 20 to 40% of crowns may be discarded.

Plant crowns as soon as possible after digging. If they can not be planted immediately, store them indoors to protect them from the drying effects of the elements. Maintain cold (but not freezing) temperatures and low humidity, 4º C (39º F) is ideal. Avoid storing in large piles with poor airflow. The warm humid conditions common in large piles will cause storage rots.

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