Conflicting Asparagus information - Questions!

5 days ago
last modified: 5 days ago

I'm in zone 6a in NY. I've planted and replanted a couple of Jersey varieties of asparagus roots in the same spot because they never did well - few plants survived and yield was low. Not sure why, but probably because I didn't do much maintenance or fertilization. I built a new bed last fall and filled it with purchased compost, which still isn't very well broken down. I'll do a soil test as soon as I can and fertilize accordingly. Any recommendations what kind of fertilizer does best for asparagus? I've never used any fertilizers except natural ones, like bone meal, rock phosphates, greensand, etc., but I'd consider something like Garden Tone if it'll make a difference.

There's a lot of conflicting information out there. Most sources recommend the male Jersey roots, citing a slew of reasons why they're superior. 1) First question: are they really? Or is it product hype? Do they taste as good, are they as hardy/long lasting as the Mary Washington type? If they're so superior, why do most nurseries still offer Mary Washington heirlooms? In general, which taste best? I prefer thick ones. 2) In your experience, what spacing is really ideal? I see everything from 14" on center with no rows to minimum of 5 feet between rows! My bed is 5' x 15'. Should I try for two rows, or just plant them x number of inches apart throughout the bed? 3) Are one-, two- or three- year old roots best for planting, and why, aside from the amount of time you're willing to wait to harvest. Does one age do better than the others? 4) Are seed planted asparagus healthier?

Thank you!!

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