: A long-lived perennial vegetable crop that is enjoyed by many a gardener and can be productive for 15 or more years if given proper care. The green, purple or white spears begin emerging in May and can produce 1/2 to 1 pound per plant. To reassure yourself that the roots have been disinfected, you can soak them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. Make sure to rinse them well before planting.
Only the young shoots are eaten. It is native to North Africa, most of Europe and Asia. There are male and female plants and they produce a small berry which is not eaten. Asparagus can be prepared in a variety of ways but the best is the first crop of the year. Since this plant thrives in maritime climates, one way to discourage nearby weeds is to put a little salt in the soil. Unfortunately this makes the soil unusable for anything else. However, since typical asparagus beds can remain productive for 15 to 20 years, you'll want to choose the site carefully.
There are three main types of asparagus: green - which is the most common, white (also known as spargel) - which is grown without natural light and added ultraviolet light, and purple - which is high in sugar and low in fiber.
Asparagus is low in calories, contains no cholesterol, and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of folic acid, potassium, dietary fiber, and rutin. Stalks are high in antioxidants. Green variety in particular is high in vitamin C.
Good planting partners: tomato, basil, parsley, calendula
Bad planting partners: Onion, chive, garlic, leek
Asparagus Image Gallery
Check back in Fall 2010 for our 2011 rootstock catalog.
Jersey Knight - One of the Jersey hybrids, an all-male variety, Jersey Knight is very vigorous, has large, succulent spears, and quickly attracts a loyal following. All-male varieties are more productive, channeling energy into spear growth instead of the seeding that inhibits yields. The flavor is excellent, and the plant is resistant to rust, crown rot and fusarium. It also performs equally well in heavy, clay-like soils.
Purple Passion - Purple Passion is a unique asparagus variety especially suited to the asparagus enthusiast, whether a home gardener or commercial grower. Its special, attractive purple color, flavor and tenderness distinguish this variety from others. Our field trial confirms all of these attributes with taste tests conducted here. In addition, our trials indicate Purple Passion has productive yields. For best performance, plant spacing for Purple Passion is 6-8 inches apart in the row instead of the usual 12-inch spacing. When cooked, the bright purple color is reduced, but when served fresh in salads it provides a colorful and flavorful accent.