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Seed is on Sale (Asparagus/Catnip) how to start?  RSS feed

Posts: 271
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Fun day yesterday, went to pick up a new buck goat. Long drive and enroute, I noticed these gorgeous "feral" asparagus plants alongside of the road. Fronds have turned yellow with the changing seasons and are (were) covered with red berries. So... can you say "blue light special along highway...." I was out in a flash, picking asparagus berries. I have more than three cups and each berry contains more than one seed. In past places I've lived in, I've always started asparagus from crowns, so this is another wee adventure for me, but the price was exactly right!

1) How do I start asparagus from seed?
a) do I need to remove the seeds from the berries?
      if so-- any suggestions for quick and easy seed preparation?
      if not.. do I need to let the berries dry?
b) is it better to plant right now or wait til spring
c) how much site preparation do I need to do?
    (I'm not into the old traditional bare ground garden and for years when I was little we picked "wild" asparagus from ditch banks, large quantities of pure, never been weeded or cared for stuff... that's what I want!)
d) Do I direct seed or do I transplant?

I've also been wanting to start some cat nip-- as a small cash crop. I've had a few plants on my property, but the goats pruned them a bit short this year and I haven't noticed any buds. Soooo... I've been thinking that I needed to visit some friends who have quite a bit of it on their property. But as I was picking my asparagus berries I found that I was up to my eyeballs (alright, so I'm short) not only in asparagus, but also in cat nip which had already gone to seed! I picked a huge bag full of the dried out seed heads, put them in upside down and hung the bag up behind the seat on my pickup. I have a primitive road as well as a four wheel drive road that I travel on regularly... as well as I needed to finish my trip. Sure enough, even though the plants looked like they were totally done with any seeds, by the time I got home the bag was full of seeds!

Same questions:
1) Do I start now or in the spring?
2) Do I direct seed or do I transplant? (which is going to be the most successful?
3) What does everyone think of 'nip and asparagus as companion plants? Seemed like it was working at the place with the big seed sale.....

Having said all of that, I can't believe I'm asking questions about starting seeds. Worked for years in greenhousings/gardening/landscaping. I have literally started millions of seeds. Greenhouses being the keyword. Give me a controlled environment and there isn't much I have difficulty growing. But I'm wanting to integrate these plants into already establshed growth and I'm wanting them to thrive and become the predominant plants.

The area I will be planting in is on the edge of my meadow--where the other cat nip is already growing.


Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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I've read that asparagus does better with free drainage & good fertility.

If any parts of the property have high salinity, that would be a great place to plant.

There's at least one other thread on planting asparagus seeds:


It seems like direct planting, followed by distinguishing males from females, is a reasonable way to go.
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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plant in the fall, leave outside all winter, they will sprout in the spring. i pot them up into 1 gallons for a year then they go in the ground unless you have a secure well prepared plot for them. wait 4 years and you can start harvesting. simple as that. i start over 200 asparagus seeds a year.
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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the asparagus will do well on a well manured plot and lots of mulch after it is up and growing next spring..the catnip will prefer a rather thinly fertilized area and is fairly easy to grow..
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