After a slow start to the season, asparagus crown lifting, and planting are now approaching peak levels this spring. Weather conditions in both the north and south of Europe in the past few weeks have meant that asparagus crown planting had been delayed by many growers. This had been due to a combination of cold and wet conditions, depending on specific locations.
At Global Plant Genetics, we work with a range of asparagus nurseries across Europe. These businesses mainly purchase seeds from us of the Guelph asparagus hybrids in order to grow them on for a year, thus producing large, one-year old crowns. These plants are bought by growers, establishing new asparagus plantations. The largest plants, also known as “A” crowns, can afford growers a short harvest just one year after planting, expelling the myth that asparagus crops take years before spears can be cut.
We have been talking to all our asparagus seed customers in recent days and they are now busy harvesting, grading and packing crowns for despatches all across Europe. They are particularly pleased with the quality of the asparagus plant material this year, meaning that the crowns are even larger than expected. One of them has reported that their Guelph Millennium asparagus plants are on average 20% heavier than last season. This has meant that only 5000 crowns can be packed per pallet, versus 6000 plants 12 months ago. An example of the size of this material can be seen in the photograph that accompanies this blog.
Once the crown planting season is completed, growers will be turning their attention to the main asparagus harvest. In Northern Europe, outdoor crops are expected to commence from mid-April and continue on until mid-late June.
We will have more updates from the asparagus season later in the spring. Stay tuned to our blog for the latest information.