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Old October 20, 2016   #1
stevenkh1
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Default Martha Washington & Waltham Washington asparagus seeds/crowns

Hi All!

Does anyone please help me locate a source for Martha Washington and Waltham Washington asparagus seeds and/or crowns? I have burned out the usual sources like Burpee, Burgess, Jung's, etc etc etc. Thank you so much in advance!!!

Steve 😁
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Old October 21, 2016   #2
greenthumbomaha
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If you can wait till January, the Wal Mart seed rack carries Martha Washington seed in the 50 cent packages. There were about a hundred seeds in the pack and I immediately planted them all, several seeds to a cell, and had excellent germination. They were huge by spring but I decided to hold out planting them for a more modern Jersey variety. The roots in those cell packs were thick like the bare root plants and they made a nice ornamental container.

Do you grow the modern hybrids too?

- Lisa

Last edited by greenthumbomaha; October 21, 2016 at 01:18 AM. Reason: commas
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Old October 25, 2016   #3
stevenkh1
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Hi Lisa,

Thank you so much for your reply - and the tip for Walmart's seed rack.

No, I don't grow the modern Jerseys or modern Marys. I just have the heirloom Mary. Now, I did harvest seeds from my heirloom Marys for the first time this year (wow...2-8 seeds per red berry!). So I'll plant a few more of those.

And, I found a little patch of huge fat asparagus growing on an old farm from past decades so I picked those berries and harvested seeds. I'm going to grow those seeds out to see what variety that is (probably Mary...but we'll see).

And I *finally* found one of the oldest asparagus varieties from the 1800s: Connover's Colossal. It hasn't been grown in America in decades but it's still commonly grown in England. So I bought some Connover's Colossal seed and will start those in February. It'll be fun to compare an 1800's variety vs a 1900's variety in this millenium! Gardening IS fun!

Again, thank your the tip of Martha...now I'm on the pursuit for Mary & Martha's brother, Waltham Washington. Someone, somewhere has crowns or seeds...I just need to find that person.

Take care,

Steve
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Old October 26, 2016   #4
Bulldog
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Default The Tasteful Garden

Google it. Has Mary Washington crowns. I planted some last year and they have grown. May harvest a few spears next year.
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Old October 26, 2016   #5
stevenkh1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
Google it. Has Mary Washington crowns. I planted some last year and they have grown. May harvest a few spears next year.
Thank you, BD - I have plenty of the Mary Washington variety. I'm looking for her siblings, Martha Washington (Lisa turned me on to where to buy seeds) and Waltham Washington varieties (I am worried this variety is extinct).

For the older varieties (1800's era):
  • Perfection is an American variety and appears to be extinct.
  • Giant French - appears to be extinct.
  • Argentenil Early Giant - appears to be extinct.
  • Argentenil Late Giant - appears to be extinct.
  • Connover's Colossal - Despite numerous modern books discussing this variety, I cannot crown nor seed in the U.S. The only place I could find where it is grown is in England (got seeds coming). According to the Chas Ilott's Book of Asparagus, 1909, Colossal is not as good as the four varieties above.
  • Palmetto is an American variety that found its way to Europe but that too, appears to be extinct.
  • Barr's Mammoth - appears to be extinct.
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Old October 26, 2016   #6
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Great effort to find and recover these. I bet they are growing out there somewhere on old homesteads near cellar holes.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about Connover's Colossal!
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Old October 26, 2016   #7
stevenkh1
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Thanks, PG - A few weeks ago, I found some monster-sized asparagus plants full of berries along a gully which ran along an OLD farm in the middle of nowhere in St Clair County (now all cornfields and have been for decades)...so I'm gonna grow those out and see if I get lucky. Wish me luck!
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Old October 26, 2016   #8
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You got it - luck!
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Old October 27, 2016   #9
greenthumbomaha
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Hmm, I hope I didn't mistake Mary for Martha. It was a fairly common variety. I also saw crowns for it at many stores, from Wal Mart to high end nurseries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenkh1 View Post
Thank you, BD - I have plenty of the Mary Washington variety. I'm looking for her siblings, Martha Washington (Lisa turned me on to where to buy seeds) and Waltham Washington varieties (I am worried this variety is extinct).

For the older varieties (1800's era):
  • Perfection is an American variety and appears to be extinct.
  • Giant French - appears to be extinct.
  • Argentenil Early Giant - appears to be extinct.
  • Argentenil Late Giant - appears to be extinct.
  • Connover's Colossal - Despite numerous modern books discussing this variety, I cannot crown nor seed in the U.S. The only place I could find where it is grown is in England (got seeds coming). According to the Chas Ilott's Book of Asparagus, 1909, Colossal is not as good as the four varieties above.
  • Palmetto is an American variety that found its way to Europe but that too, appears to be extinct.
  • Barr's Mammoth - appears to be extinct.
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Old October 27, 2016   #10
greenthumbomaha
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Baker Creek has this seed for sale:


Precoce D'Argenteuil Asparagus AS102

- Lisa

Annies Heirloom Seeds has it too!

Last edited by greenthumbomaha; October 27, 2016 at 01:01 AM.
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Old October 27, 2016   #11
stevenkh1
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Thank you, Lisa. I have that variety available locally...but I can't find any history on it in any of my old garden books or Googlebooks before 2000 (even in the French garden books). So I'm not sure how old that variety truly is.

I just read in my 1940 Ferry-Morse catalog that Mary Washington is a selection from Martha Washington, so Mary is a daughter to Martha. With that said, I'd like to grow it how and compare to Mary.

I am mindful not all daughter varieties are necessarily better. Take Golden Delicious apples for example. Golden Delicious is just ok...but one the parent apples to Golden Delicious is Grimes Golden - and Grimes Golden absolutely blows Golden Delicious away in flavor.
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Old June 21, 2017   #12
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Going to necro this thread...

The Precoce D'Argenteuil is a fairly old French variety, that also goes by 'Early Argenteuil'. It is listed in Hexamer's Asparagus (1901) and probably others, under just Argenteuil or 'early'. It is also probably the same as the Argentenil Early Giant on the original listing in this thread, as I think that 'n' is a mistake.

Here is the listing from Hexamer...

Quote:
Argenteuil. — Of this three sub-varieties are recog-
nized — the early, intermediate, and late; and these are
the kinds grown almost exclusively in the vicinity of
Paris, France, where its culture and improvement have
steadily developed for centuries. Under good culture
the late Argenteuil produces stalks from three to six
inches in circumference, at eight inches below the tips.
I also came across a few references that state the variety being grown at the parsonage garden in Old Sturbridge Village is probably Barr's Mammoth.

And if that 'feral' variety has done anything, I'd like some seed, if possible.

Also, Connover's Colossal is available from Bountiful Gardens.

Last edited by mjc; June 21, 2017 at 03:45 AM.
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Old June 21, 2017   #13
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Here's a list of named varieties I've come up with after digging through several older books...

I left all the 'white' varieties off the list as there aren't any, it's a cultural method that makes them white.

ASPARAGUS.

Argenteuil., Early Purple Argenteuil. Giant Argenteuil.
Barr's Mammoth. Barr's Philadelphia Mammoth. Mammoth
Berliner Freude.
Bonvallet's Giant.
Charleston.
Colossal. Conover. Conover's Colossal. (probable synonyms: Conover's Mammoth. Conover's Giant. )
Cox's California Mammoth. Cox.
Defiance. Smally's Defiance
Dreer's Eclipse. Eclipse
Giant.
Giant Purple Top. Moore's Giant Purple Top (probable:Large Purple Top. )
Large Giant.
Henderson's Palmetto. Palmetto. Giant Paimetto.
Maule's Mammoth.
Moore's Cross Bred,
Moore's Giant. Moore's Giant Cross Bred
Moore's Giant Purple Top. (there's some evidence that the Moore's varieties are the same)
Paris Mammoth.
Quality.
Southern Giant (also a possible synonym for Palmetto)
Starkey's Early Prolific Mammoth.
Vick's Mammoth
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