They sell first and second year crowns. Depending on the variety you can get seed and propagate lots if you are willing to wait but crowns are honestly super cheap. I think I got mine for 60 cents a crown on sale and free shipping from Stark Bros which was way cheaper than Nourse farms. I had to get almost 200 crowns though. They say wait at least 2 years to harvest. It is tempting because I saw lots of crowns come up from the ground first year but if I harvested them the crowns would spend too much energy and not come up next year. Female asparagus will produce seed and spread by seed. Some places only sell all male crowns though. Stark Bros has unsexed if you want unsexed. Males can produce more though. Never tried purple but decided to grow purple passion because it is supposed to be more sweet and tender. For green things like Jersey Knight and Washington are not hard to find. Like another person said Nourse has rankings for their berries and asparagus that I find pretty accurate.
I harvested second year with Washington and Jersey Giant. They’ll spread a little but they’re not very competitive in heavy soil like mine. I think most of the spreading was self seeding.
I’ve had several folks around here swear by weeding asparagus with a little salt. I never had the guts to try, but it’s apparently unusually tolerant of salty soil unlike most weeds around here. Take that advice with a grain of…
Nourse is like a buck a plant from what I saw, similar to the Walmart baggies. I think the local places are the way to go if you just want to experiment a bit and see how it goes. But the links provided here are perfectly good options too.
From what I can tell there are a few known varieties and otherwise you don’t have many options.
You need a lot of asparagus crowns for much of a crop. Your average person eats something like 12 crowns worth and if you are a heavy eater you will eat more. You space each crown 6 inches to a foot apart so it doesn’t take as much space as you would think either.
That is what I found when buying asparagus. There is 3-4 purple kinds sold and likely around 8 green varieties sold. There is not too much of a choice. Not like stonefruit or apples where there seems to be a million varieties.
I haven’t seen him around much, but @Chikn I believe used to grow it commercially or at least in large amounts, so I would search for some of his posts.
I grew it for a while but decided I didn’t have the space to dedicate to it, since you get the Spring crop and it gets fairly tall and will shade out other veggies, etc. near it. I grew Jersey Knight and one thing I can tell you is although they say some of these varieties are all male, they basically mean mostly male. I think 3 of the 11 crowns I put in turned out to be female and I’m still pulling out the occasional seedling from the garden even though I pulled my plants a couple of years back. I will say it was tough to dig them out since the crowns had really grown and the roots are impressive. They don’t spread by suckers, but the crown expands so I wouldn’t plant them any closer than a foot apart.
My neighbor planted the open-pollinated Martha Washington and gets good harvests. He has about 30-40 crowns in, so he’s committed a good bit of space. Thankfully he doesn’t seem to have any deer or other pest issues with them, but if he doesn’t keep the patches well weeded, the competition definitely slows them down.
I will say, it is a wonderful thing to snap an early asparagus off and munch on it in the garden. Delicious.
I’m just figuring that out. According to some internet stuff they say each plant will harvest about a half pound. I didn’t believe that and sounds like you are confirming it. Also wondering if spring planting would be better.
To be honest with any perennial I have never noticed a difference with fall planting or even mid summer planting. I always notice around May when the last frost goes away I see a bunch of growth. I see the growth continue until July where they tend to stagnate for the year and by September things don’t look the best. Right before Halloween or November we get our first snow. The season seems to go like that every year. If I fall plant the plants that are active stay stagnate and the dormant plants may have their guarantee voided since the seller has no control. The thing about asparagus is it is not taking up more space than a tree or a bush will per se and you can plant above it. Asparagus is like strawberries in comparison. Very cheap to buy and when you plant the crowns you will realize you had a lot less than you thought. With trees I always say you underestimate how big they will get but with asparagus it is the opposite. Like others said you basically get a spring flush of asparagus which is really nice but the season is done early on as you have to let it go to fern to maintain energy. When dormant season comes into play you chop down the ferns and more will emerge in the spring. With a bush or a tree you are harvesting the fruit but with asparagus you are harvesting the suckers from the crowns before they grow to be tough.
I bought 25 crowns of Jersey Supreme from Johnny Seed to plant in a 4’ x 8’ bed. I waited 3 years to really harvest, but I think it would have been fine to harvest in year 2. It seems like they are a little too crowded and would probably benefit from some more space.
I have them planted in two rows long-ways in the bed and grow my spinach in the middle. I get about a month’s worth of pretty regular asparagus in April and that’s it. The ferns are just pretty to look at the rest of the summer.
Not mentioned so far, but the soil you grow asparagus in should be heavily amended with organics. Also, mulch heavily with leaves in the fall.
I suggest the all male varieties but have also grown Purple Passion and enjoyed it. Don’t plant less than 20 crowns per person who will eat it. I had about 15 crowns at the last place I lived and always wanted more.
They last a long time, 20 years or more
You do not want them to spread unless you remove the volunteer plants and put them in the right place. Volunteer plants in the wrong place are more like weeds.
Choose a modern all male variety to get the best yield
We grew Martha Washington and several of the Jersey male varieties which were about 3X more productive
Get the lime deep into the ground if it is required