D'Argenteuil Purple Asparagus

D'Argenteuil Purple Asparagus

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Asparagus officinalis

Argenteuil is possibly the best Asparagus you will ever eat! This French traditional heirloom, originally from the outskirts of Paris, is a gourmet variety that is very highly esteemed in Europe for its delicious, tender stems with purple/rose colored buds. The very first records of this purple heirloom asparagus date back to the 1700's. Argenteuil produces extremely large but tender, thick spears much earlier in spring than most other varieties. It is an excellent choice for the impatient gardener. Earlier and hardier than just about all other asparagus cultivars. The very tender spears are among the best sweet tasting fresh asparagus straight from the garden, but it is also the ultimate variety used for blanching to produce white asparagus. Blanching is the process of depriving the plant of sunlight, forcing the plant to grow without producing chlorophyll, giving you beautiful pure white asparagus spears. Unlike most other asparagus varieties which do not offer a decent harvest until the third year when grown from seed, Argenteuil gives great yields even in the second year. Very heavy yields once established. This hardy variety adapts very well to a wide variety of  soils and is quite heat tolerant. All natural fresh untreated seed. Easy to grow. Rust resistant.

Asparagus has been cultivated in France since the time of Louis XIV. Originally only three varieties were available, and distinguished mostly by their size, �la grosse�, �la commune� and �la sauvage�. The best known and most delicious asparagus was cultivated at Argenteuil, France, just 14 kilometers northwest of Paris. For hundreds of years Argenteuil was one of the most important asparagus growing districts.

Plant this perennial vegetable just once and enjoy the tasty spears for years. Tall, graceful, feathery green foliage remains attractive long after harvest. Fresh-cooked asparagus is much more tender and succulent than store-bought, as well as being much less expensive! This wonderful heirloom variety is hardy and produces lots of uniform spikes. The first year, when plants are 2ft tall, very lightly cut back plants. This induces hardier root development.  Harvest in mid to late June. Asparagus is one of the more permanent vegetable crops in a garden, typically producing for 10-20 years or more!

Growing instructions: Start seed indoors 4-5 weeks before last frost in pots, or sow directly into the garden after danger of serious frost has passed. Cover seeds with 1/8 inch of fine soil. 10 to 15 day germination time. Keep soil moderately moist during germination (not soggy). Transplant indoor started seedlings after hardening off and danger of serious frost has passed. Space plants at least 18 inches apart. Full to part sun, perennial. Average to light water needs.

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