Do you have asparagus plants and want to grow some more in the future? Then read on to learn how to save your asparagus seeds!
If you’re growing open-pollinated varieties of asparagus plants and would like to grow more or gift your friends with some asparagus starts, what better way than to propagate them from the seeds of your own stock. Learn how to save asparagus seeds and how to store them.
Can You Grow Asparagus From Seed?
Somewhere, sometime, by someone, the idea was spread that asparagus is best grown from crowns, not seed. Experienced gardeners I have spoken to have confirmed what I myself have learned from personal experience: That is simply not true. In fact, asparagus that is grown from seeds that have been saved from your own asparagus are more robust and vigorous than asparagus grown from store-bought crowns.
From Which Varieties of Asparagus Can I Save the Seeds?
Harvest your seeds from open-pollinated asparagus varieties (examples include Mary Washington, Martha Washington, and Waltham Washington.)
Open-pollinated asparagus plants in general are more genetically diverse, meaning there is a greater amount of diversity among the plant populations. As you plant the seeds that you saved from open-pollinated varieties of asparagus, those plants will slowly adapt to your specific growing conditions and climate and improve year after year.
Note that in addition to being open-pollinated you’ll also need both male and female plants to harvest seeds. The males pollinate and the females produce the seeds.
How Do I Know When My Asparagus Seeds Are Ready to Harvest?
When the asparagus ferns are beginning to fall over and the berries are red, they’re ready to harvest.
Inside each red berries are usually 3-4 black seeds.
How Do I Remove the Asparagus Seeds?
Gather up all the red berries. You can often pierce the berries with your fingernail and open them to remove the seeds. If the berries are too dry and tough, let them sit for an hour or so until they’re soft enough to open.
Remove the seeds and rinse them thoroughly in a kitchen colander/sieve to remove any remaining pieces of berry pulp.
Tap the colander several times to shake off as much excess water as possible.
How Do I Dry Asparagus Seeds?
Place the seeds in a single layer on a tray or plate lined with parchment or wax paper. Do not line it with paper towels or napkins or the wet seeds will stick to them.
Dry the seeds for about a week, stirring them around on the paper every so often to prevent them from sticking to each other or to the paper.
How Do I Store Asparagus Seeds?
Store the seeds in a paper envelope, plastic bag or a jar and place a silica gel packet in with them to remove any excess moisture and to ensure the seeds stay dry. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place such as the refrigerator Do NOT store them in the crisper drawer as that retains moisture.
Be sure to label the jar/packet with the seed type and harvest date!
Do you also grow tomatoes?
Read our tutorial on How to Save and Store Tomato Seeds!