New Asparagus Varieties and Sources – Vegetable Crops Hotline

New Asparagus Varieties and Sources

Carl Cantaluppi is a retired Area Horticulture Agent, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

For over 30 years, asparagus growers have known about male hybrid varieties that have overtaken the yields of the open-pollinated varieties like Mary Washington. These male hybrids have out-yielded the open-pollinated varieties by 3 to 1. Growers can then start to recoup the costs of their investments earlier.

The New Jersey male hybrids have been very popular with growers since the mid-1980’s with varieties such as Jersey Giant, Jersey Supreme, Jersey Knight, and others. Unfortunately, these varieties will no longer be on the market in the future, and it is safe to say that most of the “Jersey” varieties will not be available within the next 3-5 years, with the exception of Walker Deluxe.

New male hybrid varieties for commercial growers will include Walker Deluxe, Atlas, Greenox, Sequoia, Porthos, and Purple Passion, along with Guelph Eclipse, Guelph Equinox and Guelph Millennium. The Guelph varieties are from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. They produce longer spears than the NJ types that retain tight spear tips that are tender. They also tolerate hot summer temperatures and can withstand cold winter temperatures. Greenox, Sequoia, and Porthos were released from Rutgers University and Vilmorin Seed Co. Walker Deluxe is from Walker Plants and performed the best in the first year of my asparagus variety trial in PA (see table below). Atlas is not a male hybrid but is dioecious, having both male and female plants. It produces tall spears with tight spear tips under warm temperatures but do not tolerate cold winter temperatures like the NJ and University of Guelph types.

Asparagus Cultivar Trial – Selinsgrove, PA 2020

Cultivar Lbs./A greater than 3/8 inches in diameter Lbs./A less than 3/8 inches in diameter Number of spears per plant Total yield per acre in pounds
Walker Deluxe 250ab1 344a 3.7a 594a
Guelph Millennium 113  b 119  b 1.4  b 232  b
Guelph  Eclipse 380a 119  b 2.3  b 499ab

 1Yield expressions with the same letter within columns are not statistically significant, Duncan’s Multiple Range Test, 5% level.

One-year-old crowns were planted on April 19, 2019.  Eight harvests were taken throughout a three week period in 2020. First harvest occurred on April 16. Harvest did not resume until May 1 due to frosts.  Last harvest occurred on May 8 when the majority of spear diameters started to become less than 3/8 inches in diameter.

 A List of Asparagus One-Year-Old Crown Sources and Variety Availability

Scott Walker
Walker Plants
105 Porchtown Rd.
Pittsgrove, NJ 08318
(856) 358-2548
www.walkerplants.com
Walker Deluxe, Atlas

Tim Nourse
Nourse Farms, Inc.
41 River Rd.
South Deerfield, MA 01373
(413) 665-2658
www.noursefarms.com
Guelph Millennium, Jersey Supreme, Jersey Knight, Purple Passion

David Daisy
Daisy Farms
28355 Michigan 152
Dowagiac, MI   49047
(269) 782-6321
www.daisyfarms.net
Porthos, Greenox, Sequoia, Guelph Millennium, Guelph Eclipse, N.J. Hybrids

Richter Farms, LLC
Rt. 2
90487-60th St.
Decatur, MI   49045
(269) 782-5350
New Jersey Hybrids

Indiana Berry and Plant Co.
2811 Michigan Road
Plymouth, IN   46563
(800) 295-2226
www.indianaberry.com
Guelph Millennium, Jersey Knight, Purple Passion

John Bakker
Michigan Asparagus Research, Inc.
12800 Escanaba Drive, Ste. A
DeWitt, MI   48820
Hart office: (231)-873-2740
www.foxseeds.com
Seed of Guelph Millennium, Guelph Equinox, Guelph Eclipse

This source list is intended only as a convenient reference for growers. Inclusion in the list does not imply endorsement, nor does exclusion imply that the plants or seed of a particular source are inferior. The list does not pretend to be exhaustive, and undoubtedly there are other suitable sources of crowns and seed.

For a complete guide to asparagus production, management, and marketing, order my publication, “Asparagus Production From A to Z” by contacting Carl Cantaluppi at carl1954@ptd.net

“Asparagus Production From A to Z” is a comprehensive 68-page bulletin written by Carl Cantaluppi, Retired Area Horticulture Agent, North Carolina Cooperative Extension. It has been revised to include trial results of new varieties conducted in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. These new varieties include Walker Deluxe, Guelph Millennium, and Guelph Eclipse.

The regional publication covers the planting, growing, harvesting, and marketing of asparagus, including a budget with costs and expected income per acre, for the serious commercial asparagus grower. The bulletin includes 25 color photos of insects, diseases, and planting techniques to aid the grower. The author is an asparagus expert with over 30 years of applied research experience, working with asparagus in the northeast, midwest and southeast U.S., with variety trial information being reported in those areas.

Other interesting topics in the bulletin include:

•        A detailed study of asparagus varieties
•        Results of a ten-year replicated variety trial in NC
•        Results of a new variety trial conducted in PA
•        White asparagus production using opaque covers
•        Handling, grading, and storage
•        Harvesting and marketing methods
•        Estimating spear growth of asparagus as affected by temperature
•        Yield increases as influenced by judicious fungicide applications

The bulletin is bound with a plastic spiral binder with a clear plastic front and hard plastic green back cover. It sells for $25.00 and includes shipping and handling. To order a copy, send a check or money order in U.S. dollars for $25.00, payable to Carl Cantaluppi and mail to:

Carl Cantaluppi
1222 Grangers Rd.
Selinsgrove, PA   17870
E-Mail: carl1954@ptd.net

 

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