Maybe we’ll have spring after all.
It wasn’t looking good. The leaves got blasted on our Japanese maple, the daffodils are in tatters and there will be no fruit from the fragrant white blossoms that exploded with such promise just a few weeks ago.
Like much of the country, we’ve had a cold snap that has hung on and on, spelling disaster for area farmers and local gardeners. I was about to despair of getting any asparagus out of our garden at all this year.
Asparagus is a perennial – keeps coming back with almost no care, which is about how much we give it these busy days. I am so fond of asparagus that we planted 50 crowns of the stuff about 10 years ago even though there are only two of us. The dogs like it too, running to the sink when they hear me snapping off the asparagus butts. I know I should save those tough ends for soup, but somehow there are never any left.
After ten years our asparagus still comes back as abundantly as ever. Until this year, anyway. It started to come up on schedule a few weeks ago and then, zap. A hard freeze in early April. The asparagus languished, and so did I, in a kind of pre-spring limbo.
So I’ve been keeping a close watch, peering through the weeds (I mentioned the “no care” part, didn’t I?), waiting for the tightly budded purple heads to start poking up through the soil again.
Finally, the other day, there they were. Now, once they get going the garden is a place of asparagus madness, the willowy green shoots springing up overnight, faster than we can eat them. But at the start of the season, especially a cold one like this, they…grow…very…slowly.
I should wait, I know I should, but today I got impatient and cut a bunch of them off short. Ate a couple in the garden, brushing off the mud and grit, just to get a quick fix, and then brought the rest in for dinner.
Fresh asparagus is just a total joy. Grassy, green, with a faint, faint hint of spring onion, more a like a memory than a taste, it is a mouthful of sweet April (even if it can make your pee smell like a skunk).