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I just received a load of Eclipse and Millenium asparagus bare root crowns for my allotment. I'm in the South of England and wondering whether I need to fill up my fridge with the crowns for months or whether I can plant them straigh away, if I'm careful with the watering?

I know that this is not the best time to buy, but they were super cheap so I couldn't resist!

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The reason they were cheap is because they should have been planted during March or early April in the UK. If you have prepared an asparagus bed already, then it's probably best to plant them immediately and keep your fingers crossed, but only if you can keep the bed thoroughly watered. Info on growing asparagus here https://www.rhs.org.uk/vegetables/asparagus/grow-your-own

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  • Just to add: cover them with less dirt (add it just this autumn), but so... you should be more careful on watering. And possibly you will have to wait an additional year before a real harvesting. Commented Jun 13, 2023 at 13:33
  • When you say careful on watering, do you mean water them more than usual as @Bamboo says, or less? I was aware when I bought them that it was a gamble, but the delivery took a lot longer than expected and now it's started to get really hot! Commented Jun 13, 2023 at 14:06
  • It's important to keep the planting bed well watered because we're currently in a heatwave with little rain in the forecast. You don't want it flooded and soaking wet all the time, but you do want the soil reasonably moist. If they survive, you likely won't be able to harvest until 2025, not next year.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 13, 2023 at 17:50
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It will depend on how hard it freezes where you are. If it does freeze.

I am also presuming you don't have anywhere like a greenhouse you could plant them in pots, then put them out next spring.

I would suggest you plant them and leave them alone until at least next spring. Don't try to harvest anything. Leave them to gain energy. If they live through the winter then great! If they don't then there wasn't much you could do anyway.

You might try to put a lot of cover over them. Say, dead grass and such. This won't stop them freezing but will reduce the loss of water while frozen.

If they live through the winter, and they show vigorous growth next year, then you can harvest. If they live but are not vigorous, maybe you have to leave them alone another year before harvesting.

On the family farm we had a hard cutoff date after which we did not harvest any asparagus. After June 1 we left them alone. The idea was to leave them energy to get through the winter. That date will be different in different climates.

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