Tag Archives: Asparagus

First Harvest of Spring – Asparagus

Spring is rolling along here on the farm and we have been busy digging around in the gardens.  Our asparagus patch is booming this year and I noticed a few days ago that several spears had poked through the soil.  We have had very warm temperatures the last few days and when I went out to the garden today there were loads of spears to harvest!
asparagus

Because we have struggled with asparagus beetles damaging our crop in the past, I started checking the spears for signs of this pesky bug.  It didn’t take long and I spotted a sign of the beetles…the tiny beetle eggs protruding from a spear.
asparagus2

We noticed these eggs for the first time several years ago and started researching what they could be.  One of my favorite resources, the University of Minnesota Extension website, had a great article about asparagus beetles.  Here is a picture of this pest from the website:

asparagus-beetles-1-sm

Besides the disgusting eggs on the spears, the big problem with these beetles is that they damage the spears, causing the tips to brown or curl into a deformed shape.  We had noticed these problems before with our asparagus and were glad to identify the source.  The advice in the article for controlling the beetles recommended handpicking them in smaller gardens like ours and that is the method that we have used.

Handpicking, especially in small gardens, can be effective. Drop adults and larvae in a pail filled with soapy water. Also remove the dark brown eggs from the spears. New adult beetles can fly into the garden, so be sure to check your asparagus regularly.

I am hoping we can get the beetles under control right away this spring.  We checked them this evening and found three adults on one of the spears.  They squish really easily between your fingers.  🙂

Battling the asparagus beetles is well worth the effort because there is nothing that says spring  like fresh asparagus out of the garden.  Our favorite way to cook asparagus is to place it on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and broil in the oven until it is softened.  It was a real treat tonight to enjoy our first harvest from the garden this spring.

Lynell

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The Asparagus Awakens

I was so delighted when I walked out into my vegetable garden today and found this…

My first spear of asparagus for the season!   I picked the tall one and brought it in the house, cooked it up, and ate it with my dinner.  This was the only hill that has emerged so far.  I’m not sure when I harvested my first asparagus last year, but I know it was not this early.  But spring this year has been wonderful for gardens due to the mild weather and abundant sunshine.

After cutting back the old growth from last season about a week ago, we gently tilled around the hills of asparagus to reduce some of the weeds.  Each spring we top dress the asparagus with compost and fertilize it lightly.  The warm days and sunshine heat the soil up once it is uncovered and the spears start to push through.  Last winter we lost a few hills of asparagus that we replaced.  We are hoping that they all made it this year, but it is too early to tell.

A few weeks ago, on March 31st, I also planted my first vegetable seeds of the season – spinach and a mild mesculum mix.  This was a full two weeks earlier than in 2009.  At the beginning of this week, I noticed the seeds have already sprouted.  We should be enjoying some fresh salads with baby greens in a few weeks!

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