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Millennium seeds

MILLENNIUM

Out-yielding some of the most ambitious asparagus, Millennium is quickly becoming a garden and culinary favorite with an outstanding flavor. These hardy, predominately male plants produce succulent, high-quality spears for years. The plants are rust-resistant and perform well in medium to heavy soils. Hardy to zone 3. R.

Key Features:

Key Features:

Customer Reviews

Soil Temp for Germ 65–80°F
Seed Depth ¼”
Days to Emergence 10–25
Soil Temp for Transp 40–45°F
Plant Spacing 10–15″
Row Spacing 3–6′
Fertilizer Needs High
Minimum Germination 75%
Seeds per Gram N/A
Seed Life 3 years

Culture
• Asparagus plants are dioecious, meaning there are both male & female plants
• Male plants produce thicker larger spears
• Female plants produce small berries
• Asparagus is a hardy perennial
• The key to good production is well-prepared, deeply dug beds with lots of organic matter
• Fertilize beds early in the spring and after harvest with 1–2 cups of TSC’s Complete fertilizer per 10 row feet
• Keep beds moist

Direct Sowing
• Not recommended

Transplanting
• Start transplants 60–90 days before your last frost
• Transplant seedlings after the danger of frost

Asparagus Root Crowns
• Plant your 1 year old crowns shortly after you receive them
• Crowns can be transplanted 4–6 weeks before last frost
• Dig a 4–6 inch trench; create a hill in the center
• Drape roots over the hill; cover roots with soil
• Fill in trench as asparagus grows
• Complete instructions are included

Insects & Diseases
• Common pests: Asparagus beetles and slugs
• Pest control: Pyrethrin, slug traps or bait
• Common diseases: Rust, Fusarium wilt, Fusarium stem and crown rot
• Disease prevention: Maintaining good plant vigor

Harvest & Storage
• A moderate 2–3 week harvest can be expected from crowns in 2–3 years
• Harvest spears when they’re 6–10 inches tall, cutting them off about 1 inch below soil surface
• Store at 36°F and 100% relative humidity
• To maintain perennial bed, leave smaller spears to mature into ferns, which will regenerate the plant
• With each successive year, your plant productivity and harvest window will increase

Seed Collection

The Seed Collection represents the greatest concentration of living seed and plant diversity on Earth. Situated in the Millennium Seed Bank, it’s a global resource for conservation and sustainable use.

About this collection

The planet is facing a critical time. Two in five plant species are threatened with extinction, with huge implications for the future of all ecosystems.

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The Seed Collection at the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) is the most diverse wild plant species genetic resource in the world, with over 2.4 billion seeds representing almost 40,000 different species.

Seed banks are a cost-effective tool for long-term ex-situ (away from their natural habitat) plant conservation. Collections are dried and frozen, preserved for the future.

They provide an insurance policy against the threats plants face in the wild.

At Kew, seeds are collected through global partnerships and field research as part of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP) network.

Once stored in the Millennium Seed Bank facility at Wakehurst, they act as resources available for research in finding sustainable solutions to global challenges.

We curate our collections to the highest standard, as high-quality collections maximise longevity in storage and the useability of collections for research, re-introduction and restoration.

What’s represented in the seed bank?
  • Over 97,000 seed collections
  • Represents nearly 40,000 species
  • Over 6,100 genera
  • 350 families

Using the Seed Collection

Our collections are available for research, plant-breeding, species re-introduction, vegetation restoration, education and display.

Seeds collected through the MSBP are duplicated to the MSB under the Convention for Biological Diversity and Nagoya Protocol. Where partner agreements and seed numbers allow, seeds can be distributed via the Kew Seed List.

Seed banking practices

Kew was an early leader in the development of seed banking practices; first developed for crops and then expanding to wild species.

A straight-forward practice, it helps 90% of seed-bearing plant species survive by drying and then freezing their seeds, so extending their longevity reliably.

We do this in our purpose-built, state of the art facility at Wakehurst.

Once collected and transported to the seed bank, seeds are prepared and dried to 15% equilibrium relative humidity, before storage in deep freeze chambers (-20°C).

Curation

The collections are curated to international gene bank standards, at every stage of the process.

These are not always applicable to wild species collections; so we used our considerable experience to set global standards across the partnership. These are used across the MSB Partnership to ensure that collections are of optimum quality and form the basis of our training programmes.

  • High quality passport data
  • Plant identification
  • Longevity and viability of each collection
  • Understanding how to break dormancy
  • Maximising germination to avoid selection during the life cycle
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Recalcitrant species

Recalcitrant species produce seeds that cannot be dried and therefore cannot be banked using conventional methods.

There is a spectrum of seed storage behaviour and longevity, even within orthodox species, depending on phylogeny and environments (maternal and post-harvest).

Current data suggests that around one in ten species have recalcitrant seeds, but the rate is habitat dependent. In moist tropical forests over half of tree and shrub species could have recalcitrant seeds.

Research is underway to develop novel methods, including scoping out a large-scale cryogenic storage facility, the Kew Cryosphere.

Backup of sub-samples in cryo-storage is routinely used to extend the longevity of short-lived species.

Targets and priorities

As we move beyond 2020, we are excited to be continuing our seed conservation work. We will be looking at:

  • Increasing our focus on collection quality to ensure all collections are fit for purpose
  • Improving the genetic diversity captured in our collections, increasing our focus on sub-specific taxa, and appropriate eco-geographic and genetic representation through multi-provenance species collections
  • Prioritising plants threatened with extinction, as well as endemic plants and those most useful for the future for human adaptation and innovation
  • Prioritizing ecosystems at risk of climate change (montane, maritime and island)
  • Forestry and trees: the MSBP works to support tree conservation both in the UK through the UK National Tree Seed Project and around the world through the Globe Tree Seed Bank programme
  • Crop wild relatives: These species hold important traits for development of resilience to global change and are under-represented in seed banks. The Global Crop Diversity Trust and Kew have collaborated on the Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change project covering 29 major crops. We are looking to do more

Access our Collections

Find out how to arrange visit or access the online database. Please note visits to our Collections are for academic researchers only.

Millennium Seed Bank

Learn about our scientific mission to protect wild plant biodiversity in our underground seed bank.

The Millennium Seed Bank will open later at 11am on 21 July 2022. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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In the heart of rural Sussex lies a treasure trove of scientific excellence.

The Millennium Seed Bank hides an underground collection of over 2.4 billion seeds from around the world, banking them to conserve them for the future.

Enter our glass atrium, and you’ll see our scientists at work in front of your very eyes. You can track the journey of a seed from our drying chamber, though seed cleaning and processing to our research stations and explore our interactive exhibitions.

Right beneath your feet are our sub-zero chambers, where we store seeds collected around the world by our global partnership in flood, bomb and radiation-proof vaults.

Outside our building, planted parterres showcase eight threatened habitats of the British Isles.

Why do we bank seeds?

With two in five plant species at risk of extinction, it’s a race against time to protect our incredible plant life.

By storing seeds ex situ (away from their natural habitat) and supporting seed banks in countries around the globe, we are giving a safe home to some of the world’s most threatened plants.

It means that we can germinate and reintroduce these plants back into the wild or use them for scientific research in finding our future food or medicines.

We have nearly all the UK’s native plant species preserved in our seed bank.

Where do we collect seeds from?

The MSB is the largest, most diverse wild plant species genetic resource in the world; a fantastic result of contributions from 97 countries since 2000.

Our scientists and their partners collect seeds from some of the most extreme and familiar landscapes.

Seed collections are stored in the country where they were collected, and a part of the collection is sent to the MSB for safety backup.

Plants that with seeds that can tolerate being dried and frozen

Areas vulnerable to climate change: alpine, dryland, coastal and island ecosystems

Plants that are useful for livelihoods and economies

Plants that are relatives of to those that we eat

Plants that are endemic to that location (not found anywhere else)

Plants that are threatened in the wild.

This scientific hub is a great introduction into the vital work that Kew scientists do every day.

In fact, many of the plants grown in Wakehurst’s botanic garden started their life in this very place.