Mary Washington Asparagus
Mary Washington Asparagus
Mary Washington Asparagus
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Mary Washington Asparagus

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With its great taste and long green spears, this variety has been the most popular asparagus in American gardens for the last century. Originally released by agricultural explorer and plant breeder Dr. J.B. Norton in 1919.

HEIRLOOM. Light cuttings in 2 years; regular cuttings thereafter.

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable, so you just plant them once and enjoy season after season of succulent spears. Seeds can be started indoors in spring for transplanting out around last frost. Bare roots can be planted as soon as they arrive in spring. Rooted plants are great for fall and should be planted 4-6 weeks before first fall frost. In 2 years, you'll have a light crop and a regular crop thereafter. Long after harvest, the graceful, feathery green foliage is still attractive. Zones 3-8.

 

How to Sow and Plant:

Asparagus may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, from seed sown directly in the garden, from transplanted seedlings in fall or from year-old bare roots in spring.

Sowing Seed Indoors:

  • Start asparagus seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before outdoor planting date in spring in peat pots, plastic pots or trays. At least 2 x 2 inch cells works best.
  • Sow seeds ½ inch deep in seed-starting formula.
  • Keep soil moist at 70-75 degrees F
  • Seedlings will emerge in 10-14 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow. Incandescent bulbs do not work because they get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Seedlings should be 6-10 inches tall with 4-6 stems with several buds coming from the crown when they are ready to transplant outside.
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens cell structure and reduces transplant shock and sun burn.
  • When selecting a site, keep in mind that asparagus is a perennial vegetable and the planting bed should not be disturbed. Early soil preparation is essential in order to establish a healthy asparagus bed. Asparagus prefers full sun and a good organic well drained soil.
  • Space transplants 12 inches apart in a single or double row. Double rows should be 12-14 inches apart. Transplant before temperatures are 90 degrees F.

Sowing Directly in the Garden:

  • Direct sow seeds in spring when the soil is at least 60 degrees F.
  • When selecting a site, keep in mind that asparagus is a perennial vegetable and the planting bed should not be disturbed. Early soil preparation is essential in order to establish a healthy asparagus bed. Asparagus prefers full sun and a good organic well drained soil.
  • Prepare the soil by removing weeds and working organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
  • Sow seeds evenly and thinly 2 inches apart, ¾ -1 inch deep
  • Firm soil lightly with your hand, water and keep evenly moist.
  • Seedlings will emerge in 10-14 days at 75 degrees F, a little longer if the soil is cooler.
  • Thin seedlings to about 12 inches apart when seedlings have at least two sets of leaves.


Approximately  14-18 seeds per package