ASPARAGUS- MARY WASHINGTON - organic seeds
Asparagus officinalisPopular variety producing long green spears. Tastes great and has been the most popular asparagus in American gardens for over a century.
Fill a 1 1/2-inch-deep seed flat with sterile potting soil and sow the seeds 1/2-inch deep and 2 inches apart in the flat. Water the potting soil to keep it moist and grow in a sunny window for one year before transplanting to a permanent bed outdoors. Start the seeds in spring one year before transplanting a permanent bed. Wait to transplant the crowns until the soil reaches a temperature of 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove all weeds from the planting bed in the spring or fall before planting crowns the following spring, selecting a site in partial shade with good drainage. In summer months, a partial shade site should receive only three to four hours of daily sunlight between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., when sunlight is most intense. Incorporate 4 inches of organic humus material, such as finished compost, aged manure, leaf mold, grass clippings and sphagnum peat, into the native soil to a depth of about 8 inches with a rototiller. Perennial asparagus can grow in the same bed for decades without cultivating the soil annually as with annual vegetables, so adding humus material before planting improves soil structure and drainage and adds nutrients to the soil. For best results, add 4 inches of humus material in spring, then incorporate another 4 inches in fall before planting, allowing the materials to break down in the soil over winter.
Create 6-inch-deep, 18-inch-wide furrows in the asparagus bed, using a garden hoe. Spread a 1-inch layer of finished compost in the bottom of the furrows, then cover the compost with 1 inch of soil.
Place the 1-year-old "Mary Washington" asparagus crowns 12 to 18 inches apart in the furrows with the crowns facing up. Spread the roots evenly in the bottom of the furrow.
Cover the asparagus crowns with 2 inches of amended native soil. Gradually fill in the furrows with additional soil as the crowns grow throughout summer, adding no more than 3 inches of soil, to leave 1 inch free of soil up to the furrow ridges. Therefore, in the 6-inch-deep furrow, you add 1 inch of compost, 1 inch of soil, then add additional soil up to 3 inches, filling in the furrow with a total of 5 inches of material.
Water the asparagus after planting and as needed to keep the soil moist but not wet. Spears tend to be woody and tough when given too little water, but asparagus does not tolerate wet feet. Apply finished compost around the plants about once monthly, if desired, to give the asparagus a nutrient boost.
Packet 25 seeds