ASPARAGUS

Asparagus is always a delight in the spring. It’s the first thing to arrive and harvest in the outdoor garden, but after three years I have found that the asparagus needs just a little help staying warm in this cold climate.

The first year of this garden 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. 2020 was a bit sparse, perhaps due to the extra-cold weather.

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. However, some of the nighttime lows can reach 0°. Sometime in April the asparagus will begin to come up, sometimes just reaching a pick-able size, only to freeze overnight. We’re now covering the asparagus with plastic over the hoops and/or frost cloth at night in early spring. Bottles filled with water help keep them warm and healthy, and less likely to freeze. Even with all the precautions, sometimes it’s just too cold and we lose 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 a bit of olive oil and grill them alongside our meat of choice in a veggie grill pan.