white asparagas

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by arnoldw, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. arnoldw

    arnoldw Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2003
    Folks what can you tell me about white asparagus. My wife just came back from Germany visiting family. She wants to plant white asparagas and I understand it may take up to 3 years for it to produce. Our family in Germany will send me the seeds. Has anyone out there done this. What white asparagas I found here was health food stores and expensive. We have really sandy soil so that part is covered. Any help would be apreciated. Arnold
  2. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

    May 11, 2003
    I believe white asparagus is simply regular asparagus that is kept from the light.

  3. LisaBug

    LisaBug Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2002
    Mmmmmmmmm, spargel (sp) in hollandaise sauce! We were in Germany once at asparagus time and during our travels saw quite a bit of it in the fields. Southerngurl is correct, it's your everyday asparagus kept from light, usually by hilling dirt over the rows. Kind of like pulling the leaves around a head of cauliflower, keeps it white. We prefer our asparagus green plus it can be alot of work. Maybe someone knows the procedure, although I would assume it's covered as it grows. Maybe you could use a hay/straw mulch for pretty much the same effect?

  4. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2003
    Haven't grown any myself, but I sure like eating it. I ate both white and green in Germany, but green is my favorite.
    snipped from Territorialseed.com
    Asparagus officinalis:: This Mediterranean native is one of the first vegetables harvested in the spring. Asparagus is easy to start from seed, but you’ll get an earlier harvest from 1 year old crowns. Enjoy steamed, served with butter or lightly drizzled with hollandaise sauce.

    CULTURE:Direct seeding is not recommended. Start transplants 60–90 days before your last frost. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in sterile seedling mix kept at 65–80°F. Germination can take up to 21 days. Fertilize transplants with an all purpose liquid fertilizer.

    PREPARING THE BED: The key to good production is a well-prepared, deeply dug bed with lots of added organic matter. Prior to transplanting, work in 1–2 cups of our complete fertilizer per 10 row feet. After the danger of frost has passed, plant seedlings 10–15 inches apart in a 4 inch deep trench. Fill in the trench as the asparagus grows.

    Asparagus Root Crowns: Plant the crowns shortly after you receive them in mid-April. Complete instructions are included with your order.

    MAINTAINING THE BED: Fertilize an established bed early in the spring and after harvest with 1–2 cups of our complete fertilizer per 10 row feet. Keep beds moist with about 1 inch of water per week. Stop harvesting when the stalks reduce in size to the diameter of a pencil. Let the smaller remaining spears grow. They may reach 5–7 feet tall and will become bushy. Cut off ferny growth to the ground after it turns yellow. Mulch with 2–3 inches of compost or well rotted manure in the fall.

    DISEASE: The main diseases of asparagus are rust, Fusarium wilt, and Fusarium stem and crown rot. Control by starting seeds in sterile soil and maintaining good plant vigor.

    INSECTS: Control asparagus beetles with an application of 5% Rotenone. Slugs may also be troublesome in the early spring, so use traps or bait to keep their munching to a minimum.

    HARVEST: A moderate 2–3 week harvest can be expected from crowns in 2–3 years. Harvest spears when they are 6–10 inches tall, breaking or cutting them off at ground level. With each successive year your harvest window will lengthen to a maximum of 6–8 weeks. Harvested spears can be held for 10 days at 34°F and 100% relative humidity.

    SEED SPECS: Minimum germination standard: 75%. Usual seed life: 3 years. Approximately 50 seeds per gram, 28 grams per ounce.
    Sampler: 2 grams Packet: 7 grams
    Unless otherwise noted.

    © 2004 Territorial Seed

    (F1) This widely adapted French variety has tremendous early-season production. Larac's delicate flavor also makes it a favorite for mulching to create white asparagus. Approximately 50% male and 50% female. Will overwinter to zone 6.

    For several years in the 1980s, my wife and I lived just north of Germany's Black Forest, where one culinary highlight in late spring and early summer is white asparagus. More tender, milder, and nuttier in flavor than green asparagus, it quickly became our favorite vegetable, though we'd never particularly liked the green type. In general, white asparagus is preferred over the green type in Europe, though some Americans find it less sweet. White seemed to be the only kind of asparagus grown in southwest Germany, and today, it's the only kind I grow in southwest Virginia.
    Actually, white asparagus is not genetically different from the green kind. It's simply any asparagus grown in the dark, or blanched. The traditional way to blanch asparagus is to mound mulch or sand around the spears as they emerge. But that technique is a lot of trouble, because it must be done daily, and it makes the spears grubby. All that's really required to blanch them is to keep them under an opaque cover.

    A Simple Blanching Method