Just planted another dozen asparagus plants. They’re so easy to grow from seed.
When I first decided to try growing asparagus, I tried to buy 2-year old ‘crowns’ as the books advised. Asparagus is a member of the lily family and each plant grows from a perennial rootstock called a crown. The new shoots which appear in late winter and early spring are the asparagus spears we buy. If these aren’t harvested, the spear elongates and becomes tall and fern-like. It then flowers (male and female flowers are found on separate plants) and sets seed. The female flowers form bright red berries about the size of a pea. Each berry contains a half-dozen shiny black seeds.
Anyway, I couldn’t buy crowns anywhere. Most nurseries didn’t even know about them. But luckily, several seed companies sell seeds. I got some of the Mary Washington variety from Diggers and they germinated really well. After that it was easy to add more plants. Some spears are harvested from each plant in spring and the remainder are allowed to form the ferny growth. This puts energy and nutrients back into the crown, so that next season it’s able to push up more spears. So when the plants flower, all you need to do is collect the red berries from the females and push them into some potting mix in a pot. When they germinate, they’re like mini-skinny asparagus which elongate into tiny ferns. Just pot them up into single pots and plant them when they’re big enough to go out.
There’s another thing I’ve discovered about asparagus and that’s that they’re delicious eaten raw, especially at the young and tender stage.
A good rule of thumb for picking the spears: harvest them if they’re thicker than a pencil and leave to form the fern if they’re thinner.
Here’s a good site about asparagus.