UC 72 (Mary’s Granddaughter) Asparagus is a superior Mary Washington variety that produces earlier, larger and more uniform yields of dark green spears with fairly compact heads. Spears are 6-12″ long and 1/2″ in diameter. UC 72 (Mary’s Granddaughter) Asparagus is more heat and drought tolerant than other varieties. May take 2-3 yrs to reach full production but can bear for 15-20 yrs. Prefers full sun. Excellent choice for market growers and home gardeners.Tolerant of Fusarium Wilt and Rust.
How to grow UC 72 (Mary’s Granddaughter) Asparagus?
Planting UC 72 (Mary’s Granddaughter) Asparagus seeds requires a lot of patience, but it is one of the most rewarding once you get it going. Asparagus seeds germinate slowly, and the crowns take three seasons before they can be harvested. Even though asparagus is hard to grow, the gardener is generously rewarded by early season harvests of asparagus with a flavor you will not find on store shelves anywhere.
Start UC 72 (Mary’s Granddaughter) Asparagus seeds indoors mid-February to May under bright lights. Asparagus growing requires patience as it will be three years before you can harvest these long-lived perennials. Soil temperature for germination: 70-85°F
Soak UC 72 (Mary’s Granddaughter) Asparagus seeds for 2 hours. Plant 1 seed per 2” pot, ½” deep. Keep in a warm place. The asparagus seeds can take 2-8 weeks to sprout depending on soil temperature. Transplant when seedlings are 10-12 weeks old and danger of frost has passed. Space 18″ apart in rows 3-6′ apart. Place each plant in a hole 4” deep and gradually cover the crown with soil as it grows. For thicker spears, space 12-14″ apart and set buds 6-8″ in the hole. For thinner spears, space 8-10″ with the buds 4″ deep.
Fertilize UC 72 (Mary’s Granddaughter) Asparagus after harvest and again in the spring with 1-2 cups of complete organic fertilizer per 10′ of row, worked in lightly. Asparagus needs 1″ of water per week. In late fall, trim ferns down to 2″ and dispose of cuttings to avoid future disease and insect problems.
It’s important to not harvest UC 72 (Mary’s Granddaughter) Asparagus until the third year so that plants can become established and strong. Then harvest over a 2-3 week period. Cut the fattest spears off at ground level when they are 6-10″ long. When thinner spears begin to emerge let them to grow into big fronds to nourish the roots. With each successive year the harvest lengthens to a maximum of 6-8 weeks. Store in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel.
In optimum conditions at least 75% of UC 72 (Mary’s Granddaughter) seeds should germinate. Usual seed life is 2 years.
Diseases & Pests
Rust, fusarium wilt and fusarium stem and crown rot. Using seed started in sterile soil instead of purchased plants, and planting in soil that has no history of disease will keep your plants healthy.
Asparagus beetles can defoliate the ferns of the asparagus plant. They overwinter in the top growth, so thorough removal of the fronds in the fall (after they have died) is vital. In a small garden handpick the voracious insects.
Encouraging beneficials like ladybugs reduces aphids. Aphids are usually found together on growing tips (look for the sooty blotches they leave behind).
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