ASPARAGUS

Asparagus is always a delight in the spring. It’s the first thing to arrive and harvest in the outdoor garden, and after a few years at this elevation I have found that the asparagus needs just a little help staying warm in this cold climate. While I’m always able to harvest some for eating, the amount is always dependent on the weather. It begins to sprout before the nights warm up, and the sprouts often freeze and shrivel up before I get a chance to harvest them.

The first year of this garden (2017) I planted “Millenium” asparagus crowns, hardy to Zone 3,a male hybrid asparagus variety bred in Ontario, Canada. The plant is hardy, tolerant to cold winters.” The second year I couldn’t wait and harvested about enough for one meal. The third year (2019) I was able to have a few meals of delicious asparagus. Since then, I take what I can get that isn’t too skinny or frozen.

We do have to offer a little help in early spring, to keep the asparagus from freezing. We get a lot of warm spells throughout March and April with daytime highs in the 70’s, which encourages growth. However, some of the nighttime lows can reach 0°. We’re now covering the asparagus with plastic over the hoops and/or frost cloth at night in early spring. Bottles filled with water are placed around the asparagus to help keep it warm. Even with all the precautions, sometimes it’s just too cold and we lose quite a few spears.

2020: I divided a few of the largest plants and relocated the divisions to another area. This may have affected the growth on the “mother” plants. The divisions did not grow much during the summer–one may not have made it at all.

One of our favorite ways to eat asparagus is to grill it. Either full spears or cut, we drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and grill it alongside our meat of choice in a veggie grill pan.

HIGH ELEVATION GROWING TIPS: 
ASPARAGUS

Planting, growing & harvest is similar to any other location. Just keep in mind that asparagus will likely grow more slowly until the nights warm up. Always be prepared to keep asparagus covered on freezing spring nights, and protected from snow. Don’t be too upset if some is lost due to freezing, just enjoy what you can!