Early California

Brock Seed Company is pleased to announce the release of a new asparagus variety. This new cultivar is named "Early California."

It is a true hybrid, and a better performer than any other variety on the market for arid and semi-arid areas, particularly climates with little or no dormancy. This variety was developed from our very best "Brock" selections. We have been working on the variety for over 10 years and have trial data to support our yield and quality information.

This variety will out perform "Brock Imperial" and any of the UC varieties for yield and overall vigor. The yield will vary of course, depending on the grower, the ground and the quality of water. Using gravity irrigation, and under optimum conditions, the yield should be about 300 full crates per acre. With a drip system, it would be even more.

The spears per plant, using this variety, outnumber spears produced by any other variety. There is a great variation of spears produced in most asparagus varieties. It can vary from as little as 5 spears per plant to over 100 spears per plant, as evidenced in trial plots. Unfortunately, a fair amount of spears are destroyed in the harvest process. Most commercial fields today are yielding only about 5 to 10 harvestable spears per plant. The breeding and use of the most desirable genetic material allow the "Early California" variety to produce an average of 10 to 20 harvestable spears per plant, using an 8 inch spacing on a 42 inch bead.

With this kind of intense production, the harvesting and packing costs are greatly reduced. And in those years when the market is less than ideal, this increased and early production makes for a "compressed" situation, allowing the producer to get out early.

The sizing of this variety is very uniform but with a high percentage of jumbos. The quality of spears is also ideal for export markets that demand near-perfection.

"Early California" is very tolerant to rust and usually one application of a good fungicide will prevent any rust during the fern growing period. "Early California" is also free of Sclerotinia and Latent Virus 2.

For planting purposes, using direct seed, the optimum rate is somewhere between a pound and a quarter per acre to about two pounds per acre, depending on the grower's preference. Using a pound a quarter figuring about 20,000 seeds per pound, the result would be about 21,250 living plants per acre using an 85% germ. The spacing required to achieve this number would be approximately 6-8 inches apart.

Quality (color, tight head, straight smooth spear) compares favorably to any of the other varieties now on the market. Color is defined as the most green possible, with little or no purple, and an absence of purple bracts. The "Early California" variety has the greenest spear color of any variety available today.

The quality of the spear also assumes the grower is properly watering and fertilizing the plant. Although nitrogen is the primary fertilizer for asparagus, some amounts of phosphorous and potassium are also essential. Certain minor elements can be helpful as well.

It is assumed that each individual grower is well aware of the need for good farming practices, including weed and insect control. No variety can compete effectively with weed or insect competition. There are also other cultural techniques that can be employed to maximize yield, but their use depends on geographical location and climate.

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