Friday

Saving Asparagus Seed

   I save asparagus seed more for learning a skill than anything.  There's something in me that loves to save the seed, plant it, and watch it grow.  If your goal is to start a nice patch of asparagus, you might want to buy 3 year old male crowns in the spring.  They are perennial, and will last many, many, years.  Asparagus seeds form on the female plants.  Female plants are thinner, and I think tougher when eating, than the males.  So really, a bed full of the male plants is your ideal, especially if you have limited space. 





     The seed that I am gathering from female plants is from our "wild" patch.  All along our old horse fence, at every t-post, there is a few asparagus plants growing -- planted by the birds.  If we never get a formal asparagus bed going, Rick and I would have plenty for ourselves.  But, I'd like to have enough to pick for our big family meals.

     Every year I look at the price of asparagus crowns and just can't get myself to buy them.  So, now what I do, is every year I plant a big pot of seeds that I grow all summer, just like they are some of my flowers, and then transplant them in the fall.  You have to wait 3 years to be able to harvest.  These will be an old variety now unknown -- as opposed to the new hybrid crowns you would buy.  There will be male and females.  Some people pull the females as weeds.  I won't.  I consider the berries excellent food for the chickens.  I will air dry them, and feed them over winter.




Pick the berries when they are red.




Squeeze out the seeds into some water and gently work them clean.




Air dry them well.  Then gently clean off any remaining pulp before storing.


      About 6 weeks before you want to plant them, put them in a  bag in the freezer for stratification. (a pretend winter)  I start them in organic potting soil, outside.  No need to start them in the house.  They grow easy!

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.....dr momi

13 comments:

Homemade Easy said...

Wow, everything I need to know. THX, I may have questions in spring!!! Virginia....http://ourfamilymemories1996.blogspot.com/

Candy C. said...

The berries sure are pretty, almost Christmasy looking!

laughwithusblog said...

Amazing! I love how the little berries look.

Jane said...

Wow, very interesting. I have bad luck with asparagus. My poor little bed is very sad. If I were to get some berries you better believe I would be doing this!

Heidi said...

Those sure are pretty looking berries. hehe. I planted asparagus seed last winter and it all took pretty well. I have slender, feathery plants, though I will have to wait a few more years to harvest any stalks... Great post.

Feral Female a.k.a. Vicki Locey said...

Those berries are pretty Christmasy! My hubby like to save seeds as well.

Mama Pea said...

Once again I've learned something from your blog. Thanks so much!

Julie said...

I planted some crowns this spring. Hope to harvest them in a couple of years. Those berries are beautiful, by the way!

dr momi said...

All the wonderful comments about how pretty the berries are.....they are pretty when they are fresh, but they dry to ugly :-).....and don't try to eat them yourself, I have no idea how upset your tummy might get :-) Since the birds eat them, I'm sure the chickens are ok. (and they really like them)

Thanks for all the comments!

Treasures Evermore said...

I had no idea...thank you for sharing this. Learning something new everyday:-)

Blessings,
Connie

Gina said...

I never thought of harvesting asparagus seed! What a person can't do!
Gina

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Thanks for this information! I have much in the way of seeds and will start collecting them. :)

Leigh said...

I saw your comment over at Jo's (14 Acres) about using these as chicken feed, so I had to come check out this post! Great info. I just planted my 1st asparaguses (? is that the right plural ?) last spring, and have had seeds galore. Didn't think about this, so I definitely appreciate the heads up.