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Desert asparagus seed.

 
Scott Tenorman
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I just plucked a bunch of asparagus seed from my plants.

SUPPOSEDLY, these have been growing in the desert of Southern Utah for the last hundred years or so.  Zone 8a, desert, hot 105 plus in summer with low humidity, 3,000' elevation.  I got them from a local, and he wasn't trying to make any money off of them.  They've grown great for me after just one year in the ground here.  I haven't tasted any of it yet, so I can't comment on that. 

I have one tiny mason jar of berries to share.

I'd love some heirloom stuff for a straight up trade if you think it would be a good match for my area.

I'm just experimenting with stuff, but anything edible is the only criteria.

Let me know.

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New spear coming up in January, next to jar of seed/berries.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Scott: That's beautiful. And gives me hope up here in the frozen north that spring isn't far away. One of the plants that my family planted 156 years ago which is still feeding my people is asparagus.
 
Scott Tenorman
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I don't know how you northerner's do it!!!  Much respect for enduring the colder months of the year.

I was surprised to see the new shoot when I cut the dead growth off this week, and mulched.  It's the only plant out of a dozen or so that's putting anything off?  It's been fairly mild here this winter, but two weeks ago we did get into the mid twenties or so.

It put a smile on my face to see the new shoot yesterday when I was cutting the old ferns back.

I just watched a youtube video saying asparagus was grown in Egypt and was a staple of the Egyptians for centuries......I had no idea. 
Good stuff.




 
Barbara Clowers
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Scott Tenorman wrote:I just plucked a bunch of asparagus seed from my plants.

SUPPOSEDLY, these have been growing in the desert of Southern Utah for the last hundred years or so.  Zone 8a, desert, hot 105 plus in summer with low humidity, 3,000' elevation.  I got them from a local, and he wasn't trying to make any money off of them.  They've grown great for me after just one year in the ground here.  I haven't tasted any of it yet, so I can't comment on that. 

I have one tiny mason jar of berries to share.

I'd love some heirloom stuff for a straight up trade if you think it would be a good match for my area.

I'm just experimenting with stuff, but anything edible is the only criteria.

Let me know.

Ack!  First post. Don't know how to get text inserted. I really want to plant asparagus that will naturalize and grow in hot climate--California. I have California natives to share. Some are edible like acorns but not normal crops. Email me if interested. Bclowers@me.com
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Scott Tenorman wrote:I don't know how you northerner's do it!!!  Much respect for enduring the colder months of the year.


Scott: Much respect for enduring your summers!
 
Scott Tenorman
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Joseph, the summers are brutal here.  There's a guy on youtube I watch that's doing incredible things out in Pheonix, and he's ten to fifteen degrees hotter than here during the summer.  It's inspiring to see what people are doing, and to see what's possible.  It's hard to get anything done outside during July and August though.  It's like a being under a magnifying glass sometimes.  (I was born and raised in San Jose, CA and lived there for 35 years.......oh, how I miss that weather now that I'm into gardening....)

I'l email you, Barbara.  I would guess this asparagus I have would do well in the conditions you mention.  It's regularly 105+ during the summer with humidity in the low teens a lot of the time, and the plants I had took it great in full sun here.  I kept them watered well, of course.
I'm curious to hear what you've got to trade.



 
Rene Poulin
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Location: Peace River Region, British Columbia, Canada
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Scott Tenorman wrote:I don't know how you northerner's do it!!!  Much respect for enduring the colder months of the year.

I was surprised to see the new shoot when I cut the dead growth off this week, and mulched.  It's the only plant out of a dozen or so that's putting anything off?  It's been fairly mild here this winter, but two weeks ago we did get into the mid twenties or so.

It put a smile on my face to see the new shoot yesterday when I was cutting the old ferns back.

I just watched a youtube video saying asparagus was grown in Egypt and was a staple of the Egyptians for centuries......I had no idea. 
Good stuff.







Asparagus is highly underutilized.  I don't need any seed because I harvest seed berries like that every year and give them away or sell them at farmers market. 
It is my most profitable crop way up north of 55 degrees.  I get six weeks of production with our short season here. Fresh asparagus sells itself around here.
I would love to try year round or as close as possible, production in the desert.  In Peru they just stop watering a field of asparagus to give it a dormant period on a rotation to provide cheap asparagus in the store year round.  Mexico too.   You can also just let the ferns grow long enough in the spring to recharge the roots and then mow down the ferns in late summer and water for a fall crop in shorter season areas.

 
Rez Zircon
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In Montana asparagus grows as an occasional alley weed. There's some among the thornbushes up the road from me, tho I don't eat the stuff so didn't pay much attention. In Great Falls we had a neighbor who used it for a hedge! Anyway if someone wants it I'll see if I can beat the birds to it this year.
 
Maureen Atsali
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Hey, this is totally news to me.  I thought asparagus liked it cold.  If its growing in places like Egypt and Mexico, I would think it could grow here.  I'm on the equator, but surprisingly mild for 9 months out of the year. (70s-80s during the day, 50s - 60s at night)  The dry season (now) is not so nice... hot and dry, probably in the 90's in the peak of the day.  Anyone want to ship some seed to Kenya... and some instructions, because I've never grown it before?  Unfortunately I can't "trade", being that the USA won't let me ship anything in.  I don't mind paying for it, and paying for the shipping.
 
Al Freeman
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For what it's worth, I grow asparagus in North Texas and as soon as the weather turns
cold in late November or December, I cut it all down to ground level and put about 4"
of mulch over the top of it and leave it alone.  I let the seed pods fall to the ground
and cover them too.

Come late January or February (now-ish) I expect to see new shoots.  I use raided beds
and grow only one cultivar per bed.  I have 21 raised beds.
 
Johan Thorbecke
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Maureen Atsali wrote:Hey, this is totally news to me.  I thought asparagus liked it cold.  If its growing in places like Egypt and Mexico, I would think it could grow here.  I'm on the equator, but surprisingly mild for 9 months out of the year. (70s-80s during the day, 50s - 60s at night)  The dry season (now) is not so nice... hot and dry, probably in the 90's in the peak of the day.  Anyone want to ship some seed to Kenya... and some instructions, because I've never grown it before?  Unfortunately I can't "trade", being that the USA won't let me ship anything in.  I don't mind paying for it, and paying for the shipping.

Had some password troubles so I couldn't respond earlier. I can ship you an envelope with some seed but they come from a colder climate so I don't know if it will work out. You might want to try Ebay, there's a whole cottage industry of people growing and selling heirloom seeds. Because you can ship it in an envelope shipping is super cheap, I took a quick glance and for about $2-3 you can have some delivered.

For tips on growing, I'm only familiar with growing white asparagus and I'm not sure if they'd grow well in a desert place. On the other hand, the fact that they spend a lot of their time underground might be good.

Here's some footage of the first year:


And here of the following years: (it's a promotional video from a super market but you get the idea)
 
Linda Lee
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Location: Sandy, Utah
food preservation forest garden urban
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Scott Tenorman wrote:I just plucked a bunch of asparagus seed from my plants.

SUPPOSEDLY, these have been growing in the desert of Southern Utah for the last hundred years or so.  Zone 8a, desert, hot 105 plus in summer with low humidity, 3,000' elevation.  I got them from a local, and he wasn't trying to make any money off of them.  They've grown great for me after just one year in the ground here.  I haven't tasted any of it yet, so I can't comment on that. 

I have one tiny mason jar of berries to share.

I'd love some heirloom stuff for a straight up trade if you think it would be a good match for my area.

I'm just experimenting with stuff, but anything edible is the only criteria.

Let me know.



Hi Scott.  Linda from Sandy, Utah.  Not sure where you're living in southern Utah but when I lived in Moab back in the 80's  asparagus grew wild along the Colorado River, just out in the sand, shaded by some willows and tamarisks.  In the spring we would harvest.  So it definitely handles heat and poor soil.  I'm amazed at the power of nature.  When our snow recently melted I found lots of things already starting to grow.  Probably the snow helped insulate the ground to keep it from freezing.  So fennel fronds starting to come up plus chard was perking up and even though we've had temps in the single digits, the oregano never seems to suffer that I have growing by the garage.
 
Rez Zircon
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Speaking of herbs, is there such a thing as a cold-hardy rosemary?
 
Linda Lee
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Rez Zircon wrote:Speaking of herbs, is there such a thing as a cold-hardy rosemary?


I asked that very question of my nursery last year and they suggested the Arp Rosemary.  Will see in the spring if the plants are still alive.  I did mulch them well with straw in the fall just in case and we did have a very cold winter.
 
Rez Zircon
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Linda Lee wrote:
Rez Zircon wrote:Speaking of herbs, is there such a thing as a cold-hardy rosemary?

I asked that very question of my nursery last year and they suggested the Arp Rosemary.  Will see in the spring if the plants are still alive.  I did mulch them well with straw in the fall just in case and we did have a very cold winter.


Wish them luck! I had a bush rosemary in the SoCal desert that was fine through several winters of -10, but died following a mild winter, so ya never know.

Now I'm in MT, zone 4/5, but I have a spot where the ground never really freezes hard -- my yard is raised about 3 feet with a rock retaining wall, and the garden strip below the wall apparently sucks a lot of heat from the ground behind it. (Probably a good cold-climate garden trick, come to mention it.) That strip also gets really hot in summer. Allium family do well there and everything else I've tried struggles.
 
Scott Tenorman
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Hello Linda, my neighbor said almost the exact same thing about the asparagus growing along the Virgin river down here in St. George.  He said he thought mine would have problems since it wasn't growing under a tree protected from the sun, but it seems like it did well to me in the full sun/heat.
That's neat about the new growth under the snow.  Nice to see when everything is mostly bleak this time of year. 

To Maureen Atsali I'd be happy to ship you some of my seeds as long as you'd send me a self addressed stamped envelope I could mail them back to you in, no charge from me.  pm me if you want to  set something up.

Thanks for all of the other replies too.  I now know more about asparagus, but still have a lot to learn. 

I still have the jar of berries, nobody has asked for any.  I popped open about a dozen or so a couple of weeks ago, let the thirty to forty seeds dry out for a week, and now am trying to sprout them using the damp paper towel in the plastic bag technique.  It has been four days, and nothing happening yet.  I'll update when I get some tails coming out of the seeds.......hopefully that happens anyhow.





 
 
Linda Lee
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Rez Zircon wrote:
Linda Lee wrote:
Rez Zircon wrote:Speaking of herbs, is there such a thing as a cold-hardy rosemary?

I asked that very question of my nursery last year and they suggested the Arp Rosemary.  Will see in the spring if the plants are still alive.  I did mulch them well with straw in the fall just in case and we did have a very cold winter.


Wish them luck! I had a bush rosemary in the SoCal desert that was fine through several winters of -10, but died following a mild winter, so ya never know.

Now I'm in MT, zone 4/5, but I have a spot where the ground never really freezes hard -- my yard is raised about 3 feet with a rock retaining wall, and the garden strip below the wall apparently sucks a lot of heat from the ground behind it. (Probably a good cold-climate garden trick, come to mention it.) That strip also gets really hot in summer. Allium family do well there and everything else I've tried struggles.


I've even had them die in the PNW area which is mainly zone 8 but I thought it was usually after a winter of colder temps.  I think the best thing to do is to keep propagating new ones from cuttings. Eventually hoping to get one adapted to your environment.  I'm in zone 7a now and in a microclimate around my house with southern exposure and heat retention from the home so hoping to keep rosemary going.

Scott, I'm new to growing asparagus as well.  Just planted some last year.  It's somewhat sheltered under the big canopy of my locust tree so was wondering if that was a mistake.  But now reading about wild asparagus being shaded, I'm hoping it will be okay.  And like with everything it's good to grow in different spots, if that's possible, to see what grows best.
 
Rez Zircon
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Linda Lee wrote:But now reading about wild asparagus being shaded, I'm hoping it will be okay.  And like with everything it's good to grow in different spots, if that's possible, to see what grows best.


The alley-weed asparagus that grows in Montana is most often found in shady spots, or at least that's where I used to find it. Our neighbor's asparagus hedge was partly under a tree and didn't seem to mind much.
 
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