Forcing White Asparagus in Various Substrates under Cool and Warm Regimes

in HortScience
Authors:
Wallace G. PillDepartment of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303

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Thomas A. EvansDepartment of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303

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Stephen A. GarrisonRutger's University Research and Education Center, Bridgton, NJ 08302

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One-year-old crowns of `Jersey Giant' asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) were forced into spear production at 28C in darkness. Total spear fresh weight and number per square meter responded quadratically to the percentage of sand incorporated in Pro-Mix BX (PMX) peat-lite medium, with maximum yields at 25% to 75% (by volume) PMX. In a second study conducted at 22 and 28C, total spear fresh weight and number per square meter for 96 days of harvest were similar when grown in weathered, spent mushroom compost (SMC) or 1 PMX: 1 sand (v/v), but were lower than those grown in PMX. The lower temperature caused heavier individual spears, while the higher temperature stimulated earlier spear production. During the first month of harvest at 22C, the total number and fresh weight of spears in SMC were 11% and 17% less, respectively, than in PMX. SMC may be a low-cost forcing substrate for white asparagus.

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