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asparagus from seed in a seed starting tray

Three weeks ago, I planted a bunch of asparagus seeds. I know it’s waayyyy too early to be starting stuff for my regular garden, but the asparagus seed packets clearly stated that the seeds should be started three months before last frost, in part because the seeds take up to four weeks to germinate.

My asparagus seeds did not take four weeks to germinate.

baby asparagus plants pushing against the lid of a seed starting tray

Neither did the rudbeckia, echanasia, yarrow, or any of the other supposedly slow to germinate things I planted that day. I didn’t do anything special with the seed trays at all. I planted the seeds, watered them, put the covers on, and set them in a south-facing window…then basically forgot all about them, since they weren’t supposed to do much of anything for a long time.

rudbeckia and echanasia plants in a seed starting tray

The asparagus plants are so tall now that they are all crumpled up from pushing on the lid of my seed starting tray, but I don’t have anywhere to put the little plants, because it’s still snowing outside…

an orange wheelbarrow partially covered by snow in a spring snowstorm

By Jess

Starting Asparagus From Seed

March 13, 2019 | Gardening | 5 Comments

Asparagus seed packets and a tray of dirt.

I get a little frustrated with my access to garden plants, sometimes. There are no fruit tree nurseries in the nearest town, and only a couple of big-box stores that carry garden stuff; the locally-owned place shut down last fall. There are a couple of bedding plant places, but they don’t generally have much (or anything) for perennial plants.

Big box stores are frustrating places to try to buy perennials. Far too often, I see zone 4 or even 5 stuff being sold; a lot of tree and shrub buyers are going to be disappointed the first time their purchases encounter a normal winter.

I am also sick of winter. Seriously sick of winter. The local news pointed out that we had 67 consecutive days that did not come above freezing; more than half of them were -30 or colder. The days are getting longer, but the snow is still at least thigh deep across most of our acreage, and while it is around freezing, it’s not really warm. This is probably a taste of our new normal with climate change. The hype had us all set for growing mangoes on the prairies in my lifetime, but instead it’s looking more like drought and polar vortexes and forest fire smoke. Blech.

Showing snowdrifts in my yard - I am sick of winter!

Clearly, I needed something to get into a better headspace. What better than playing in some dirt?

I ordered a couple of asparagus seed packets over the winter, since there are only three (!) varieties of asparagus that I have come across to order as roots online in Canada. What the heck, Canada? I’m all about the diversity, and have been pretty disappointed about the Mary Washington / Jersey Giant / Sweet Purple asparagus options.

Luckily, Baker Creek had a couple of new options I hadn’t seen before – Connovers Colossal and Precoce D’Argenteuil. Ordering those effectively doubles my asparagus options. I have never tried growing asparagus from seed, though, so it may or may not work out as planned. Some of our asparagus has self-seeded before, as we’ve found tiny little fronds in the garden, but we haven’t tried to do it on purpose, up until now. Stay tuned for updates in a few months.

The seed packets indicated to start the seeds 8-12 weeks prior to last frost, and here we are, 11 (or so) weeks from our anticipated planting date. Perfect timing.

So I got out all of my seed starting supplies (hello, old friends!) and played in the dirt for a bit. Besides the asparagus, I planted a bunch of seeds for perennial flowers that will attract bees and butterflies. Black Eyed Susans, Purple Coneflowers, and some Speedwell – pretty things for the flowerbeds I plan to dig in the front lawn this spring.

Now we just need this snow to go…

A tray of asparagus being started from seed

By Jess