Cultivation of Asparagus (Asparagus afficinallis)
Asparagus afficinallis L.
The asparagus is cultivated for its tender shoots, commonly know as spears. It starts yielding sizable crop after about three years and with good cane gives an economic yield for about 10- 15 years. The yield goes on increasing ( or 6-7 years, then remnians uniform upto about 12 years, after which it gradually declines. The best quality is obtained from the fourth to tenth year.
Uses and Nutritive Value:
In addition to its use as a fresh vegetable asparagus is also preserved in cans or bottles. A white crystalline sub-0 stance “Asparagus “freshly cut and immediately served is one of the most delicate, wholesome and appetizing products of the home garden. The spears are treated as a delicacy in preparation of soaps and white crystalline substance “Asparagines” C4H5O3N2h2O is obtained from the juice of young shoots. It is considered to be a good diuretic and is used especially in chromic dropsy and chronic gout. It was known to the romans as a medicinal plant and then as a vegetable.
The edible portion contains (%) Moisture 93, fat 0.2, Ca 0.2, Fiber 0.7, Starch 0.4, Protein 2.2, Ash 0.6, total CHO3.9, Sugar 1, 2.
History and Origin:
It was used by the romans centruries before the christen era. It is indigenous to Europe and Asia. It belongs to the family Lilaceae and it is a perennial dioeciously herb growing 1 to 3 m height.
There are two general types of asparagus based on the colour of the spears.
i) The less important group produces light green or whitish spears. Ex. Mammoth white and Conserve Colossal.
ii) The most important group includes palmelts. Marv Washington. The tips of the spars before exposure to the light and purplish and the spears becomes dark green in sunlight.
The recommended variety of IARI New Delhi is Perfection.
Though well adapted temperate regions and in the hills in tropics and subtropics, it can be grown in the plains also.
A rich, friable, well drained soil is required. A high fertility, plentiful supplies of organic matter, good drainage and an abundant supply of moisture are factors favorable to then crop the optimum Ph requirement is between 6.0 and 6.7. Proper preparation of soil is essential as the crop occupies the soil for a number of years.
In the plans July- November is the common period for sowing. The seeds are sown in a well prepared nursery bed in rows 15to 22 cm apart and 1- 2 cm away from each other and at a depth of 2.3 cm. they are thinned to a spacing of 5 cm. the seedlings are allowed to grow for one year in the nursery bed and are then planted at the permanent site. Seeds take 3 to 4 weeks to germinate. About 2 ½ to 4 kg seed will be required for a hectare.
The age of transplanting is one year seedling or crown. These plants which have a good growth and branching should be selected. The crows are dug up from the nursery at a depth about 20cm. the rows are spaced at about 1.5 to 2 m and 45 to 60 cm distance is kept within the rows.