Can you recommend one of the new asparagus cultivars? I planted one of the older cultivars (Mary Washington) several years ago and it is producing well. I want to plant a new bed with one of the newer cultivars (one of the Jersey types), but I haven’t found any in local stores.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Mark in Kentucky: When given the right growing conditions asparagus will provide many years of harvest. It is true, however, that the all-male hybrid cultivars are more productive than the old-fashioned female Mary and Martha Washington plants. The female plants have to use more energy to produce seed and as a result the yield is decreased. Jersey King, Jersey Giant, Jersey Prince, and Jersey Knight are all male cultivars that are resistant against rust and would make a great addition to your asparagus bed. Since you are already growing this perennial I will not go into detail in terms of preparing the bed, planting, or harvesting, but if you need information you can visit http://ces.ca.uky.edu/daviess-files/Horticulture/Feb_1_09_asparagus.pdf
. This is a publication about growing asparagus for Kentucky gardeners. As far as locating these cultivars you may have to drive into Louisville, but The Plant Kingdom on Westport Road carries ‘Jersey Giant’ and Bunton Seed on East Jefferson Street carries ‘Jersey Knight.’ The best time to plant asparagus in Kentucky is early March through early April so hopefully your bed is prepped and you can get the crowns in the ground relatively soon.