Preferred Situation: Full to semi sun; well draining rich soil.
Harvest Date: Monday 18 January, 2010
Seed count: 30-40
Affectionate called 'the most elegant of all vegetables', this French heirloom doesn't disapoint with its large, 2 cm thick spears. Prolific and produces spears earlier in spring than most varieties. Ultimate variety for white asparagus. Excellent flavour, very tender and loaded with folic acid and other healthy vitamins and minerals. I'm tired of the run of the mill asparagus with wimpy stems and I am now growing this. Plants create a circular fan of fleshy rhizomes and are heavy feeders, so its best to top dress with composted manure in late winter once the snow is gone...or before snow falls in late fall/early winter. Can adapt to a wide variety of well draining soils. Heat tolerant.
Don't harvest spears until 2nd year and do so sparingly until plants are strong enough to keep pumping out spears for multiple harvests for 8-10 weeks or once spear size starts to diminish. Diminshed size means that strength is starting to wane, so stop harvesting, fertilize the beds and let plants grow on to regain strength for next year's harvest. Proper bed and plant managment can keep harvests bountiful for 20 years or more. Most asparagus types take up to 3-4 years wait until first harvest, with this variety, you only have to wait 2 years for high quality gourmet asparagus. When seating in their final bed, make sure crowns are set 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) below soil surface as this will make larger spears. Shallow roots produce thin multiple spears and those buried deeper will produce only a few spears (but they will be big).
Soak seed 24-48 hours. Sow them in a baggie or thinly in a flat or pots. Best medium to use is a humus rich one with a little perlite and compost added. Medium should be just on the moist side not overly wet. Germinate at 20 C. Germinates in 7-10 days after a 48 hour "Skookum Grow" soak otherwise it normally takes 3-4 weeks. If baggie sown, transplant seedlings into deep pots at least 7 cm in width and depth. Don't provide strong indirect light, dappled shade is best. Transplant out to permenent bed. NEVER use fresh manure in the spring as this will burn the roots. Heavy feeders.