Crimson Pacific is an open pollinated variety bred by Aspara Pacific in New Zealand, it is considered to be one of the highest yielding purple types available and up to 50% sweeter than green asparagus.
It produces high yields of even, purple spears with a very low fibre content meaning that almost the entire spear is free of the tough fibre normally found on the bottom of green varieties.
Sweeter, more tender and richer in antioxidants than green asparagus. The thick, tasty purple spears are produced in May and early June, they are so delicious and tender that they are good enough to eat raw.
This is a high yielding variety that is super sweet when cooked. Not only does it make a delicious meal but the ferny foliage is also decorative in summer.
The delicately flavoured young shoots of asparagus are one of the great luxuries of the vegetable plot, much of the mystique surrounding their cultivation is unwarranted, it is not difficult to grow if kept well fed and weed free. Asparagus does not need traditional wide raised beds, nor is it the luxury crop often assumed.
The plants have very decorative ferny foliage and may be grown in single rows in the kitchen garden, or even in groups in a flower border. All-male varieties have revolutionised cultivation - they are much more prolific than traditional kinds, earlier in their lives, and do not waste energy on producing seeds.
If you are starting a new asparagus bed, remember that it should remain productive for at least 15 to 20 years. It is advisable both to plant the best variety available as you may never get to choose a variety again if your bed produces that long! Plant this perennial vegetable just once and enjoy the succulent spears for years.
Choosing a site:
Avoid frost pockets and exposed areas. Do not replant on an old asparagus bed as diseases may be a problem. Asparagus will grow on most soil types provided they are well drained. On heavy soils consider creating raised beds, acidic soils may need liming. Soil preparation is essential. Clear the ground of weeds. On heavily compacted soils consider double-digging, otherwise cultivate to a spade’s depth, incorporating well-rotted farmyard manure.
Planting: Sow indoors in Late Winter to Spring
Soak the seeds in water overnight. Sow seeds singly into modules at a depth of 1.25cm (½in) They will germinate in 10 to 14 days at 20 to 28°C (60 to 85°F). After 12 to 14 weeks, they will be ready to be transplanted outdoors. Do this no earlier than four weeks after the last spring frosts, (approx early June).
Fork over the prepared area and dig a trench 30cm (12in) wide and 20cm (8in) deep. Work in well-rotted manure in the bottom, cover with 5cm (2in) of the excavated soil and make a 10cm-high (4in) ridge down the centre of the trench. Place the crowns on top, spacing them 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) apart (right). Leave 45cm (18in) between rows and stagger the plants. Spread the roots evenly and fill in the trench, leaving the bud tips just visible. Water in and mulch with 5cm (2in) of well-rotted manure.
Asparagus beds must be kept weed free - best done by hand as the shallow roots are easily damaged by hoeing. Mulching discourages weeds and retains moisture. Apply a general fertiliser in early spring and repeat once harvesting has finished. To avoid top-growth breaking off in wind and damaging the crown, use canes and twine either side of the row for support. Allow the foliage to yellow in autumn before cutting it down to 2.5cm (1in).
Late frosts will cause distorted growth: protect with a double layer of fleece.
Do not harvest for the first two years. In the third year, pick from mid-April for six weeks. To harvest, choose spears that are thicker than a pencil. Cut with a sharp knife 2.5cm (1in) below the soil when they are no more than 18cm (7in) tall. In warm weather, harvest every two to three days for best quality spears.
The main pests to affect asparagus are slugs and snails, and the larvae and adults of the asparagus beetle. Thin spindly shoots may be due to inadequate moisture, especially with young crowns. In established beds the cause is more likely to be overcropping or competition from weeds.
Tomato, Parsley and Basil
|Average Seed Count||5 Seeds|
|Seeds per gram||40 seeds per gram|
|Common Name||Purple Asparagus.|
|Time to Sow||Sow indoors in Late Winter to Spring|
|Germination||10 to 14 days at 20 to 28°C (60 to 85°F)|
|Time to Harvest||Do not harvest for the first two years. In the third year, pick from mid-April for six weeks.|