Asparagus is a member of the lily family and is one of the first vegetables ready to harvest in the spring. It originated near the Mediterranean Sea and was considered a delicacy by the ancient Greeks.
Mary Washington is a very strong growing and productive strain producing long, thick spears in May and June depending on your season. A rust resistant variety. Fresh or suitable for freezing.
Sow outdoors in mid spring in a rich, loose seed bed. It is recommend that you soak the seeds for 48 hours in warm water before sowing 2in deep, 3in apart in rows 12in apart. Germination is slow so be patient. Seeds can also be started in the greenhouse or kitchen.
Really think about where your asparagus will go because most beds can last from 20 to 30 years. For this reason, asparagus should be planted at the side or end of the garden, where it will not be disturbed by normal year to year cultivation. It is also wise to really prepare this bed well because you will want to leave it undisturbed for a few seasons till it establishes.
1929 Steele Briggs Seed Co. says...
"A Rust-resisting Asparagus. Marvelously productive. The most vigorous of all existing kinds. Yields a crop two years ahead of all other varieties; rust-resistant; largest, sweetest, most tender, and succulent shoots. We strongly recommend this variety for planting in the home-garden or on the farm."
Asparagus has been grown in American gardens since the earliest settlements were established. However, it was not until after 1850-1860 that asparagus was planted commercially.
"My urine smells funny after eating asparagus"! Asparagus is filled with sulfur-containing amino acids that break down during digestion into six sulfur-containing compounds. These can impart a unique smell to urine as they are excreted. "It's the same sulfur group that makes skunks smell," said Barbara Hodges, a dietitian with Boston University's nutrition clinic, the Evans Nutrition Group.
We decided to start a small raised asparagus bed in our garden at school. The seeds were great, and had almost a 100% germination rate. The sprouts are still very small, and it will be a long time until harvest, but I would definitely recommend the seeds.
I purchased several types of seeds this year from Sustainable Seed company, but started only the asparagus inside. Despite soaking them beforehand, use of a heat mat, and extra light, it took over two weeks for them to germinate, but once they did, I would estimate the germination rate at 90%. Very happy with these seeds. Unfortunately, it will be 2-3 years before I can tell you whether the asparagus grows well, and a lot of that is up to me.