Asparagus seed pods are generally unacceptable for consumption but don’t discard them just yet. With the right know-how, you can repurpose them in creative and useful ways.
The best thing you can do with asparagus seed pods is to compost them. You can also segregate the seeds from the pods and use them to plant more asparagus in your garden, which will help your garden stay healthy all year.
This article will discuss what you can do with asparagus seed pods to get the most out of them.
1. Propagate and Grow More Asparagus
The best thing you can do with asparagus seed pods is to save and propagate the seeds. Propagation is an easy and cost-effective way to help your asparagus plants thrive. All you need is a container or seed tray, some soil, and the asparagus seeds.
Alternatively, you could try growing the plant a different way. For more information, check out my article on how to grow asparagus seeds from scraps: How to Grow Asparagus from Scraps (Complete Guide)
If you are starting from seeds, you’ll need to save them first properly. The following steps will show you how.
How To Save Asparagus Seeds for Planting?
To save asparagus seeds, you’ll need to follow the below-mentioned steps.
a. Store the Seed Pods in a Container
When your asparagus plants are finished producing spears, they’ll create small seed pods that resemble green beans. Pick off the pods and store them in a dry container until they open up independently, which usually takes about six weeks.
b. Crush the Pods To Get the Seeds
Once the seed pods have opened up, it’s time to harvest them. Hold each pod over a bowl or container and squeeze it gently until all the seeds come out. Discard any empty pods that don’t contain any seeds, as these won’t germinate later on when planted.
c. Dry the Seeds Before Planting
Before planting your saved asparagus seeds, spread them out on paper towels or newspaper and allow them to dry for at least two weeks in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. This will ensure they are ready for planting when it’s time.
Planting Asparagus Seeds
When planting your asparagus seeds, you’ll want to start indoors if you live in an area with extreme temperatures. Otherwise, your seedlings will freeze and die, and then you’ll need to start over if you have more asparagus.
Use a Deep Potting Tray To Plant the Seeds
To plant your asparagus seeds, you’ll need to find a deep potting tray that is large enough to hold the number of seeds you want to plant. The tray should be at least 6” (15 cm) deep for the roots of the plants to have plenty of room to grow.
You can purchase potting trays at your local gardening center or online.
Fill the Tray With a Seed-Starting Mix
Once you’ve found the right potting tray, fill it with a seed-starting mix designed for asparagus seeds.
This specially formulated soil helps promote healthy root growth, essential for successful asparagus planting. Read the seed-starting mix package instructions carefully before using it in your potting tray.
Make Shallow Holes and Plant the Seed
Plant your asparagus seeds in the soil-mix-filled potting tray. Gently place each seed about ½” (1.27 cm) deep into the soil and make sure there’s enough space between each seed so that they won’t be overcrowded when they start growing.
Once your seeds are planted, lightly cover them with more seed-starting mix and water them until moist but not soggy.
Before Planting, Store the Seeds In the Fridge For a Week
Before you even think about planting your asparagus seeds, there’s something important that you should do first, and that is to store them in the fridge for a week.
This will speed up the germination process and ensure that your little seedlings have every chance of growing into big, healthy plants. Putting your seeds in the refrigerator simulates winter conditions, which make this the ideal prep required for your seeds before planting them.
Once your seeds have rested in the fridge for a week, it’s time to start planting.
Aftercare of Asparagus Plants
Just like any plant, asparagus requires some special care. Let’s take a look at some of the most important elements.
Watering your asparagus plant is one of the most important parts of keeping it healthy and happy. Aim to give your plant 1” – 2” (2.54-5.08 cm) of water each week during its growing season, typically from March through June in the more temperate climates.
However, in colder climates, this is usually between May and August.
You may need to water more frequently in a particularly dry climate or high temperatures. You’ll know your asparagus needs water if the soil feels dry when you touch it with your finger.
Fertilizer helps keep your asparagus plant healthy and thriving. During the growing season, use a 10-10-10 fertilizer once every three to four weeks to ensure your plant gets all the nutrients it needs.
You can also add mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture in the soil. Be sure to keep mulch away from the crowns of your plants, so they don’t rot.
At the end of each growing season, prune dead foliage on your asparagus plants to keep them clean and stop the disease from spreading to the rest of your garden.
It’s also a good idea to periodically remove weeds from around your plants, so they have plenty of room for growth without having to compete for resources with other plants in their vicinity.
Pests and Diseases Control
As with any garden plant, pests and diseases can be a problem for asparagus plants. To control these issues, use an insecticide or fungicide on the foliage every few weeks during the growing season.
There are also natural methods of controlling pests and diseases, such as companion planting (e.g., planting marigolds near your asparagus), using netting to keep birds away, or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs into the garden.
When winter rolls around, it’s important to provide some extra protection for your asparagus plants so they will survive until spring arrives. You can cover the plants with several inches of mulch or straw to help insulate them from extremely cold temperatures.
This will also keep weeds down when the plants start growing again in the springtime. Additionally, ensure that any exposed soil is tilled regularly over the winter months, so it doesn’t become compacted or waterlogged.
Whether you’re a first-time grower or an experienced gardener looking for new ways to save money on gardening supplies, following these simple steps will help ensure your success with growing healthy plants using freshly harvested seeds.
2. Use Asparagus Seed Pods for Decorative Purposes
Believe it or not, asparagus seed pods are great for decorating your home. Here’s how you can use them to make your house look even more beautiful.
Dried Asparagus Seed Pod Wreath
Crafts can be fun for the whole family, and making a wreath out of dried asparagus seed pods is no exception. Once you have enough dried pods, get creative and make a unique wreath design. You can glue the pods to a straw wreath form or wire them together using floral wire. Get creative and make it your own.
Asparagus Seed Pod Centerpiece
If you’re looking for an easy way to dress up your table, try creating an asparagus seed pod centerpiece. Gather vases or jars of varying sizes and fill each one with dried asparagus seed pods.
Arrange the vases on your table in ascending order of size, and voilà! You’ve got yourself an eye-catching centerpiece that’s sure to impress your guests.
Asparagus Seed Pod Arrangements in Vases or Jars
For those who like to keep things simple but stylish, arranging dried asparagus seed pods in a vase or jar is the way to go.
Simply place the pods into the vessel of your choice and arrange them in whatever pattern strikes your fancy. For added texture and depth, you can add other materials, such as twigs, stones, shells, and other items.
Asparagus Seed Pod Garland
Making a simple garland out of asparagus seed pods is one of the easiest ways to use them.
You can make one for any special occasion or holiday by adding ribbons or stringing them together with twine or yarn. You could also add lights or small trinkets like bells to give your garland an extra touch of festivity.
Asparagus Seed Pod Christmas Ornaments
If you’re already planning on putting up a Christmas tree, why not add some asparagus seed pod ornaments? They are lightweight and easy to hang on the branches of your tree. You could even create strings of multiple pods that hang from the same branch for added decoration.
Asparagus Seed Pod Place Card Holders
When hosting a dinner party, use asparagus seed pods as place card holders. All you need to do is write each guest’s name on a slip of paper and slide it inside each pod before setting them out at each place setting. This adds an elegant touch that everyone will appreciate.
Decorative Asparagus Seed Pod Sculptures
Asparagus seed pods come in all shapes and sizes, making them perfect for creating sculptures. You only need hot glue and a few tools to attach the pieces.
You can create abstract shapes, animals, or even your designs, as the possibilities are endless. Once you complete your sculpture, you can display it in your home or garden to show off your creative masterpiece.
Asparagus Seed Pod Woven Baskets or Mats
Another fun project you can do with asparagus seed pods is weaving them into baskets or mats. To make these items, weave together the asparagus pods using thin string or yarn.
It may take some time to get the hang of it, but once you’re done, you will have a unique handmade basket or mat made from natural materials that will impress any guests visiting your home.
3. Asparagus Seed Pods Can Be Added to a Compost Pile
Putting asparagus seed pods in your compost is a good idea because they have a lot of nitrogen and they attract insects and microbes that are good for your garden.
The nitrogen in the seeds will break down other organic matter faster, creating nutrient-rich soil sooner rather than later. They also attract helpful garden critters like earthworms, beetles, and ladybugs, who all help aerate the soil and keep it healthy.
Tips for Effective Composting with Asparagus Seed Pods
- Chop them up: If you’re composting with asparagus seed pods, it’s best to break them down into small pieces first. This will speed up the decomposition process and ensure your soil gets all the nutrients they offer.
- Layer them in: It’s always best to layer your compost with equal parts green and brown ingredients. Asparagus seed pods are a great way to add green things to your compost pile, so make sure to add them in layers.
- Add moisture: Compost needs moisture to break down properly, so you must make sure your pile is evenly damp.
- Monitor: It’s important to keep an eye on your compost pile and ensure it stays at the right temperature and moisture level for optimal decomposition.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to create nutrient-rich soil in no time with the help of asparagus seed pods.
4. Dry and Store for Later Use
You might want to plant the seed pods later, but you don’t want them to go bad or get moldy before you can plant them, such as if it’s in the middle of winter. Instead of risking this, you can dry the seeds for later use.
a. Collecting and Drying the Seeds
Collect the seeds from the mature asparagus plants in your garden. You’ll know when they are ready because the seed pods will be reddish and contain several small black seeds.
Spread out the seeds on a paper towel or newspaper. Make sure they are all in one layer so air can circulate them easily. Let them sit until completely dry, which should take about two weeks.
b. Storing the Seeds
To store your dried asparagus seeds, place them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources like radiators or stoves. This will keep them fresh and viable until you’re ready to plant them in the spring.
If you want extra protection against pests like mice or insects, add desiccant packets, like those found in packaged food items, into your storage container with your seeds before closing it up tightly.
Longevity of Asparagus Seeds
How long can you store your asparagus seeds before they go bad? If you care for them properly, they can last up to three years or more.
Keep the Storage Conditions Favorable For Asparagus Seeds
Asparagus seeds can last several years if stored properly in a cool, dry place. To keep your asparagus seeds fresh and viable for longer, store them in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer.
This will prevent moisture from getting into the container and causing mold or other problems that could reduce the lifespan of your asparagus seeds.
Typically, the shelf life of asparagus seeds is 2 to 3 years. However, this can vary depending on how well you store them and what type of seed you have, as some varieties may be more sensitive to storage conditions than others.
If your asparagus seeds were harvested at home or purchased from a local nursery, it’s best to use them within a year to remain viable.
Factors Affecting Longevity
Several things, like temperature, humidity, and how much light they get, can affect how long asparagus seeds last.
Proper storage can help maintain the viability of the seeds. For example, keeping them away from direct light sources, such as windows, will protect them from UV rays which can decrease their lifespan significantly over time.
Also, keeping them at a cooler temperature will stop mold from growing and keep them useful for longer.
Is Eating Asparagus Seeds a Bad Idea?
Although they have an appealing look and taste, they shouldn’t be eaten because they contain compounds that can cause serious harm to your body. The main compound in these seed pods is called saponin, a toxic chemical that can irritate your stomach and intestines when consumed in large amounts.
Saponin can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested, even in small amounts. Although some claim that eating only a few of these seed pods will not make you sick, it’s still best to avoid them altogether.
In addition to saponin, these seeds have other chemicals, like hydrocyanic acid, which can be harmful in large amounts. If you eat these seed pods, you might have an allergic reaction because they have a lot of histamine and other allergens in them.
Because of this, you should always talk to your doctor before eating something new to ensure you won’t react badly to it.
As you can see, there are several ways that you can put asparagus seed pods to good use.
They can be used not only as decoration pieces but also to propagate and grow more asparagus or as compost. So, remember these useful tips the next time you’re wondering what to do with those pesky asparagus seed pods.
Also, remember that these seed pods are not meant for human consumption as they are very poisonous and should be handled carefully. With proper storage and handling, you can enjoy your asparagus crop’s bounty for many years.