PURPLE PASSION ASPARAGUS (Asparagus officinalis) has a delightful deep dusky purple coloration that sets it apart from your other asparagus and incidentally, makes a new spear easier to spot (at least for my aging eyes). In all other respects it is the same as other asparagus you can cultivate from seed. I can tell you that I have always had better results growing asparagus from seed than from crowns. And you really don't have to wait any longer than with the roots which arrive dry and need all sorts of perfect conditions to regenerate themselves. In just 2-3 years you can begin harvesting the early spears, which will be thinner than later years. A properly managed asparagus bed will serve you for up to 20 years! But only harvest a few that first season and let the rest remain to gather food for subsequent season production. There is a hybrid version of this variety but this is the open pollinated variety. 10 seeds.
ABOUT ASPARAGUS: Asparagus is a hardy perennial. It is the only common vegetable that grows wild along roadsides and railroad tracks over a large part of the country. (Remember the foraging classic by Gibbons, "Stalking The Wild Asparagus"?) Asparagus is native to the Mediterranean and was eaten by the ancient Greeks. Asparagus is nutrient-dense: high in Folic Acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, Vitamins B6, A, C and thiamin. Asparagus has no fat, no cholesterol and is low in sodium AND calories. It is one of the richest sources of rutin, a compound which strengthens capillary walls. It also contains glutathione - one of the most potent anticarcinopgens and antioxidants found. It is also delicious! Don't be alarmed when your urine has a distinctive odor after eating asparagus - this is normal and passes.
Asparagus has diuretic properties so it is good for your kidneys!
GROWING TIP: A member of the Lily family, asparagus forms a crown which sends up spears for a 6-7 week period in the spring and summer. Under ideal conditions, one spear can grow 10" in a 24 hours period, so when production begins each year, check your bed daily. (It is the outdoor nighttime temperature that determines production speed.) Although establishing a good asparagus bed requires considerable work, your efforts will be rewarded. A well-planned bed 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 garden cultivation. Asparagus is one of the first vegetables ready to harvest in the spring. Asparagus seed is slow to germinate, especially in the spring. Germination is dictated by soil temperature -- so if planting in Spring you might be looking at 50+ days to germination; whereas if planting in summer (even at soil temps of 95 degrees) you might be looking at germination of 20 days. Over 95 degrees it starts slowing down again. Create your asparagus bed in a protected corner of your garden where foot traffic will be at an absolute minimum, but where you can easily access for purposes of cultivation. Till the earth deeply (to a depth of 12 - 18"), removing any rocks, twigs, etc. Heavily compost and fertilize to prepare the bed. Although asparagus does best in areas where there is a killing freeze each year, wait until danger of frost is passed to initial sow. Then direct sow to a depth of 1/2" and 6" apart and cover seed bed with a thick bed of grass cuttings until the ferns begin to appear. Be sure to keep the seed bed well weeded and the surface of the soil lightly cultivated around the emerging ferns. The roots will take two years to develop and they develop laterally, so do not disturb in your cultivation. Spears emerging the first year should be left. Only harvest a few the second. You will note that the ferns produce little white flowers and then the berries. Do not cut down any of this growth until it turns brown in the fall - it is all part of the process by which your asparagus gathers energy to grow! By the third or fourth year, you are on your way to a generation of enjoyment!
SEED SAVING: Asparagus produces orange to reddish "berries" the stalks not harvested. Let them remain on the stalks until mid-to-late fall, then pick and let them dry indoors in a paper bag. When dry, simply gently crush the berries in your hands and winnow out the seeds.
CHERRYGAL HEIRLOOM GARDEN SEEDS & PLANTS offer hundreds of heirloom and vintage open-pollinated varieties. Most have histories dating back centuries and are tried and true producers. Some are rare, or threatened with extinction. When you grow a plant from heirloom seed and save that seed, you are participating in a practice that goes back for generations. Our grandparents and their grandparents grew these varieties. Often the seeds were prized possessions carried to the New World when they emigrated.
Ever notice how most seed catalogs require you to buy much more seed than you could possibly use in a season? If you have a budget for garden seeds, this limits your choices! Although seeds can be viable for longer than one growing season, it requires that they be stored at a consistent temperature and humidity. Few of us do this. CherryGal sizes its seed packets for the home gardener, because we know you may want to grow 5 different lettuces, or three different corns, or 50 different vegetables, herbs and flowers -- and don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it all! We strive to keep our overhead as low as possible so our seed prices can stay as low as possible. So we do not have a huge staff, no printed catalogues -- just very fine fresh heritage seeds at unbelievable prices. CHERRYGAL SEEDS ARE A TREMENDOUS BARGAIN!
Another important reason to grow a large variety of plants is that one of the chief culprits in honey bee colony collapse disorder seems to be that their immune systems are weakened by the prevalence of commercial mono-cropping. In other words, bees pollinating only one variety crop have a diet equivalent to eating only bread. Growing an abundant variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers will help sustain our precious honeybees!
All seeds offered are FRESH stock, with high germination rates, tested by the growers and myself. Varieties are specially selected for home gardeners. If you want the flavor you remember from grandma's kitchen garden or the beauty of her cottage flowers, choose CHERRYGAL HEIRLOOM SEEDS.
ABOUT OPEN-POLLINATED SEEDS . . . All CherryGal Heirloom Seeds are heirlooms (dating at least 100 years) or vintage (mid-20th Century or older) varieties, with an occasional modern variety included which I believe merits special attention. All CherryGal Heirloom Seeds are OPEN-POLLINATED. This means saved seed will be true to the parent. Don't be dazzled by the never-ending array of hybrid seeds promoted by gardening suppliers. First, seeds from that produce will not grow true to the parent -- you have to keep buying the hybrid seed (get the picture?). Second, most hybrids are developed for market – not home -- growers with an emphasis on extended shelf life, storage and shipping qualities -- NOT flavor, texture, fragrance and all those other elements that home growers seek.
All CHERRYGAL HEIRLOOM SEEDS come from reputable growers (with a preference given to small independent farms) and wherever possible ORGANIC suppliers (so noted). We do not knowingly offer any genetically modified seeds, and customers should understand that in order to be designed “certified organic” a seed is by law not genetically modified. By buying CHERRYGAL SEEDS you are supporting the growing worldwide movement of SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE and with a little practice you will be able to save even more money in the future by growing these open-pollinated varieties and saving seed for next year.
Please Note: CherryGal Heirloom Seeds are guaranteed to be fresh to the season stock, but are not guaranteed as to results. Sorry, but there are too many variables in gardening that can impact germination so please do not ask for a refund, replacement or to return unused seed. I always recommend that if you are new to gardening, or to a particular type of plant or variety, that you grow just a few at first to test your germination method. Email with any questions - I always respond promptly. Having said all that, we think you will be pleased and would like to hear about your gardening success!
SPECIAL NOTE TO MARKET GROWERS: We market to the home gardener, but we are happy to fill your order for multiples of any variety available. We do not offer bulk discounts. Also, we will not accept responsibility for crop failures, so please keep that in mind as purchase constitutes acceptance of 100% of the risk involved in growing any seed offered at CherryGal.com.
SHIPPING: This is important! Practiced gardeners know that the best time to order seeds is as early as possible in the season. I do not list varieties for sale that are not in hand, unless it is noted as "coming." I also add/subtract varieties all season long as inventory fluctuates, so check back often. We are constantly improving our fulfillment procedures to decrease the amount of time from order to shipping. We have added a SHIPPING BANNER to the front of the site and on every listing page which will give you the current time frame for shipping seeds. In off-season, seeds ship very quickly - usually the next business day. But as the prime season comes on, shipping can slow. Please consult this shipping banner before you purchase, so there will be no disappointments! We fulfill orders in the order received. Choosing priority or express shipping does not influence the speed with which your order is processed, only the speed with which it moves through the postal system. I package my seeds for shipping in a manner appropriate to the amount and type of seed - larger orders and larger seeds require more packaging. Whether you choose first class mail or priority shipping, your seeds will ship using a delivery confirmation number which will be supplied to you. Our checkout system is keyed to the US Postal System. For small seed orders, I recommend choosing FIRST CLASS mail at checkout. Larger orders (over 13 ounces) can ship either parcel post, or you may find PRIORITY MAIL to be less expensive, depending on your zipcode. (I gave up trying to figure out the US Postal System rates a long time ago).
I appreciate all my CherryGal.com customers, but have a special affinity for my seed customers. If you have a problem, please email me, using the contact links that are all over the website. Calling is likely to be a frustrating experience, as I do not have the staff to answer the phone, but your email will be promptly responded to.
Lastly, keep an eye out for my end of season sale which starts in June until all inventory is sold. It is always a bargain and helps us clear the shelves each season so that I am offering you only the freshest seeds year to year. Happy Gardening and don't forget to share your garden surplus with your local food bank.