Asparagus Cultivar Evaluation
The asparagus cultivar trial was initiated in 1995 to evaluate the growing number of new hybrids for yield potential and suitability to Iowa growing conditions. The trial consists of a replicated planting at the Muscatine Island Research Farm, Fruitland, Iowa (southeast Iowa), and observational plantings on ISU Research Farms at Kanawha (north central), Lewis (southwest), and Sutherland (northwest). The Fruitland trial location provided a coarse sandy soil with supplemental irrigation. Conversely, all of the observational plantings were located on fine-textured loamy soils and relied on rainfall for moisture. Standard cultural practices were followed at all sites. At harvest, spears were snapped-off at ground level when they were 8” to 12” tall and were trimmed to an 8” length before grading and weighing. Data presented are of marketable yield only. The trial evaluates eleven all-male hybrids including Gijnlim, Greenwich, and the ‘Jersey’ cultivars. Apollo, Atlas, Grande, and U.C. 157 are standard (dioecious) hybrids with both male and female plants. Mary Washington and Purple Passion are open pollinated cultivars.