Asparagus - Mary Washington

Avg seeds/pkt 500

Mary Washington Asparagus is a favorite of mine and not just because because I planted it a few years ago and now I can pick it every Spring while other annuals are still asleep in their seed packs. It’s also delicious and the uncut, ferny stalks make a pretty texture in the landscape.

Find a spot in full sun which will be dedicated to asparagus for a long time, or until it can be transplanted safely, in a few years. The soil should be loose and well-drained with plenty of organic matter.

Seeds can be started outdoors when soil temperatures have reached 70°F. Soak for 24 to 48 hours and then plant ¼ inch deep every 6 inches, in rows 2 feet apart. Keep soil moist. Germination may take as long as three weeks but most seeds will sprout. When seedlings are 5 inches tall, be sure to pull weeds, feed with compost or a half-strength liquid fertilizer, and mulch to preserve moisture.

Harvest 8- to12-inch spears in Spring, but not until the plants are 3 years old. Remember to leave a few stalks of each clump to grow to a full height of 4 feet in order to maintain the plant’s health. Replenish compost and mulch annually.

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