This unique veggie, unlike almost all the other annual vegetables we eat excepting rhubarb, is a perennial: it’s roots go dormant in Winter along with perennial flowers like peonies and coneflowers, just like deciduous trees and shrubs. Whichever method you choose requires patience. These are our one year old seedlings and they definitely passed that test. In the first year asparagus crowns should only be cut during a 10 day period. Continue periodically adding soil until the soil is mounded over the ground level. Correctly spacing the plans and watering only the base of the plant can prevent this. Sow them extra early and bump up as needed until early you can transplant into their final home. As the plants grow, continue to keep them well watered and the beds weed free. However you can also grow asparagus from seeds. We had about a dozen extra plants which we potted up into gallon pots and heeled into a bed of wood chips and irrigated all summer as our backup plants in case we lost some. Mound soil up around growing spears. Planting tomatoes or tomatillos nearby can help to protect young plants. Amazing that a single seed matures into those healthy crowns in the first growing season and then returns annually to produce nutritious spears again and again. Growing asparagus from seed is totally feasible and fun and I highly recommend it. One of the advantages of starting from seeds is the large range of different varieties available. The biggest secret about asparagus is how easy and affordable it is to grow from seed, not only saving you money but also producing harvestable food faster than if purchasing crowns. Growing from these one year old dormant plants, called crowns, is the industry standard and what we used to think was the only way to grow them. Your asparagus bed will be a permanent feature of your garden for years. How to Grow Asparagus from Seed. Asparagus has the spears which is the edible part and the foilage is a fern. We already owned a lot of shop lights for seed starting, so this was a sunken cost for us. Once the seeds have germinated, you can lower the temperature to 60-70 degrees. The ideal position for many gardens is on the north or eastern side of a plot. Growing from seed is a long process. The Asparagus vegetable is easier to grow from a crown. When compared to $1.50-$2.00/crown, it is a bargain and one to consider when establishing your asparagus patch. Since we now know we have over a half dozen female plants, we will harvest them aggressively this Spring, cutting every last spear before digging them up and replacing with (hopefully) male plants from the new cohort of seedlings we started this Winter. All summer long new and thicker spears continued to erupt from the plants, which meant really good things were happening underground with the developing root system. You have one chance to make your asparagus bed the best environment for your plants. Not only is it cheaper, but seed grown crops are far less likely to suffer from transplant shock than nursery developed plants. It wasn’t until several years ago that we learned starting asparagus from seed was possible — and this was an eye-opening experience for us. Alternatively place a bowl or container under the seeds, to them as they fall. After harvesting asparagus each year, allow the plants to grow. Plant each seed half an inch deep in small, 2 inch pots. They will reward your patience later on by growing into strong, healthy plants. By the end of the first summer and less than a year old, this is what our asparagus patch looked like. Working the soil over well before planting can improve drainage and encourage the plants to grow. We left the transplant hole open and buried them in little by little as they grew up taller and taller. It does not freeze or can well, so it’s a true feast or famine crop for our family. After three years your asparagus plants should be established and productive. Asparagus seed will germinate best if the soil is kept warm. Despite what you may have read or the fact that we’ve all been taught that crowns are the way to go because starting with seed can be finicky, I’m here to give you the confidence boost to give it a go if asparagus is in your garden plans and you’re up for a truly rewarding adventure. In this condition asparagus spears can be kept for up to 4 days. notice that uncut female plants, if allowed to, produce berries. Insecticidal soaps can also be applied. In the warmest climates viable seed can be sown directly into well worked garden beds. While growing asparagus seeds isn’t difficult, you might not want to wait three years for that first taste. Asparagus likes lighter soil, so amend your soil if necessary. Asparagus roots do not like standing water, and raised beds eliminate that problem. Our asparagus bed is 6 feet wide and we planted them 18” apart in rows spaced 4 feet apart. Not only can you eat asparagus, once the plants have matured the ferns from them can be used to add flare to floral arrangements. Harvested spears can be wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed in a perforated or open plastic bag. Tomatoes and tomatillos repel the harmful asparagus beetle. Let’s talk about how that affects how you grow your asparagus. How to Grow Asparagus Fern from Seed Generally, asparagus ferns are grown outdoors. While heavy rain can wash the pests away a blast from a hosepipe or an application of insecticidal soap are just as effective. Learning how to grow asparagus from seed is a fascinating journey. For this reason many gardeners choose to pull out the female plants as soon as they notice the berries. I update the store as needed. However, even if you grow the plant from root stock crowns it can take up to 3 years before the plants are ready to harvest. While we only harvested a few of the largest spears off the strongest plants, let’s just reflect on how incredible this is relative to conventional knowledge: that’s the same age of the crowns sold commercially which then take another few years before you can begin to harvest. Following germination keep the seedlings well watered, especially during dry periods. We only want the strongest 40 male plants in our patch, and so are in the process of ‘weeding out’ the female plants. This is often caused by warm temperatures and high humidity. Learning how to grow asparagus from seed is a fascinating journey. Many varieties of asparagus are now resistant to this issue, check the seed packet before planting. To lower the pH levels work in sulfur. While asparagus tolerates all but the heaviest clay based soils the plants do best in sandy loam based soils. Growing from seed requires patience. Calendula, or pot marigold, and petunias are also useful companion plants. When to Plant Asparagus should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. Cut spears emit gasses. While we continued to harvest off some of the strongest plants for up to two weeks, we stopped harvesting well before the width of the spears were less than a pencil to ensure there was ample shoot growth to support further root development last year. We started them February 1, 2017 and more or less followed the advice of Eliot Coleman in The New Organic Grower.