Asparagus, Part 5: They’re In!

Eight weeks ago, I started 30 Mary Washington asparagus seeds between two damp paper towels. Potted up, 12 of those became healthy little ferns, and now they’re continuously sending out new shoots, each one a little bigger in diameter than the last. (We might finally be up to a hair’s breadth!)

Since the apple trees were finishing up their blooming, it was time to get the asparagus plants to their permanent home: a bed I redug last week, adding extra compost and fertilizer in a strip down the middle. Asparagus like it fertile, so I’m doing my best. I progressively hardened off the plants, setting them outside for a couple more hours each day, and by April 3, they were ready to go. Take a look at them in their new home, planted 6″ apart in a 4′-wide bed and watered in with a generous dose of liquid fertilizer:

I have to admit, it can be difficult to plant out seedlings. For so long, they’ve been under your roof, protected by your watchful eye day and night, and then suddenly they’re out in the cold, dark world left to fend for themselves. The morning after planting out is always a little nerve-racking, as I make my way to the garden to see whether the plants have survived the night. So far, everything has. And the asparagus seem like a particularly hardy bunch of troopers. One of the stems broke off as I was planting, but I just stuck it back in the soil, and so far, it hasn’t wilted!


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy J Burton says:

    I’m growing strawberries and aubergines, they are getting so close to being able to survive on their own outside. Like a protective mother I don’t want to let them go! The asparagus looks great.

    1. Sharon says:

      Oooh, I wish I was growing some aubergines this year. But I had to be brutal in culling my seed list this winter. Even so, I might have too much for the space I’ve dug…

  2. Asparagus is a favorite food in this house! I think we attempted it one year, but the conditions were way too harsh, I think (we were in a drought with no water for weeks to months on end plus a really hot summer). We may try it another time though. Yours looks amazing!

  3. I feel the same way about my seedlings when I put them out in the big world. I’m mostly afraid the birds will snip them off—-in search of food. Something I watched my mom go through every season.

  4. Cindy says:

    The asparagus looks great. I planted crowns last year, but wanted to expand. I think I might try from seed next year.

    I love checking in on your blog and get such good gardening tips as I’m working to expand what we’re doing and what the garden is providing, so I just gave you a Liebster award. The link is here:

    Thanks for the great blog!

    1. Sharon says:

      Thanks so much! That really makes my day!

  5. I didn’t know you could plant asparagus from seed. We have planted the crowns in the past – but have since moved that garden bed and lost the asparagus. I could try this in the new garden. Thanks! I thought I was going to have to try to find the crowns again – and I think they were kind of expensive.

    1. Sharon says:

      Glad I could offer some useful info. I really enjoyed checking out your blog today!

  6. Anna says:

    Any updates on the asparagus? I love your posts about it so far!

    1. Sharon says:

      Oh, yes! It’s been a crazy spring, so I haven’t posted much, but the asparagus is doing wonderfully! I actually could have harvested a meal from it this spring, if I hadn’t been too busy with everything else! The plants that I started indoors have grown great guns. A couple of the ones I direct-seeded have grown (most didn’t germinate or died), but they’re not nearly as big as the others (probably a tenth the size). Hopefully before the season is out I’ll get a chance to post some pictures. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Sandra says:

    and now, several years on… how are they doing as of year-end 2016? I was given some seeds by a friend, and was curious as to how this whole great experiment turned out.

    1. They’re doing wonderfully! I’ve got a healthy stand of asparagus from which I harvest every spring and sometimes in the fall. They even withstood transplanting. Three years ago I moved them from my old house to the new, digging up the crowns in early spring (not an ideal time, but what I had to do), and they’ve been just fine!

  8. elsie lytle says:

    how long do the asparagus seeds take to germinate in the wet paper towels.

    1. As I remember, it was quite a while. Up to a couple of weeks, maybe.

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