Vanisle_BC
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Location: Port Alberni, B.C. Canada, Zone 7 (+?)

Transgendered asparagus.

I have 10 Jersey Night asparagus spaced 18x18" in a 6x3' bed. They were raised from seed, allegedly all-male, planted out 3 years ago and harvested for the first time this season. BUT two of them turn out to be female & have a fine crop of berries. I want to get rid of them & replace with males. (Sorry ladies - it's not about anti-feminism; just that I don't want a bunch of unwanted babies choking the bed.)

SO... how do I do this?

A) How get rid of the unwanted female plants: Digging them up (when dormant) might seriously damage the roots of their neighbors. If I let them grow next spring but keep cutting the shoots off at ground level will the plants die, including the roots?

B) How establish new plants (MALE only - how will I know?) I could grow these from berries harvested off the unwanted females but I'd have to wait 3-4 years to harvest from them, with no guarantee they'd be males - and would they be able to form good root systems anyway, planted close alongside well established 4-year olds? By the way I've already found that I have more success growing from seed than buying roots. But how can you know you're raising a male plant when you germinate seed?

Maybe I should just yank or otherwise kill the unwanted plants and accept empty spaces in the bed.

What do you think YOU would do?
The terms of political discourse are not models of precision. - (Noam Chomsky)

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jal_ut
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Re: Transgendered asparagus.

Take a digging fork and go around the unwanted plant and loosen the soil, then grab it and pull. Out it comes. Go put it in the trash bin!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Vanisle_BC
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:02 am
Location: Port Alberni, B.C. Canada, Zone 7 (+?)

Re: Transgendered asparagus.

jal_ut wrote:Take a digging fork and go around the unwanted plant and loosen the soil, then grab it and pull.
I may yet do them that way but as I said I'm concerned not to damage the roots of their neighbours which are likely intertwined. (I've had some experience with digging up asparagus :)).
The terms of political discourse are not models of precision. - (Noam Chomsky)

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jal_ut
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Re: Transgendered asparagus.

I would not worry about " the roots of their neighbours". The remaining plants will quickly send out roots into the available space.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Transgendered asparagus.

So does anyone know how to grow predictably male asparagus plants? Or do you just have to plant more than you want, then wait 2-3 years till they mature enough to see which ones do/don't make seed?

How do commercial growers do it? (although I've already discovered that their 'all-male' seed may not be reliably, predictably all male.)
The terms of political discourse are not models of precision. - (Noam Chomsky)

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jal_ut
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Transgendered asparagus.

Here at the local seed store you can buy the asparagus roots, Just go dig a trench and plant them. My experience shows that I usually get mostly male plants this way. If planting seed, I usually dig up all the plants the second year and then plant them in a trench so the roots will be a little deeper. Any how, in the spring, clip everything that comes up when about ten inches tall. Keep clipping until the first of June, then quit clipping. Spread some fertilizer around and water it well and stand back. Yes it will get to 7 or 8 feet tall but just let it stand till frost. Then run the mower over it. Have fun!

The fronds need this time in the sun to send down nourishment to the roots for next season's crop.

Image

Edit: Apparently I ain't smart enough to get a picture to load?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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