This spring got off to a very cold and rainy start and although the weather is warming up, the rain keeps coming. The asparagus harvest started slow with the cold weather, but it came on strong. Don’t harvest spears that are pencil thin, no matter how hungry you are. Asparagus should not be harvested after the first week in July because the ferns need to recover from harvest and store nutrients for the winter season. If you purchased plants from the Chisago County Master Gardeners, you bought 2-year-old roots. Don’t harvest them at all the first two years, and only lightly the third year.
Throughout the summer keep your eyes open for the asparagus beetle. In the spring the beetles feed on the ferns and lay black eggs on the tips of the ferns. The beetle can distort the spear into a shape of a shepherd’s crook, making the spear tough and tasteless.
Another crop that is winding down is rhubarb. The cool weather and plenty of moisture has allowed rhubarb to be plentiful this year. It is suggested that you stop harvesting rhubarb the first week in July, as with asparagus, to strengthen the roots for the winter.
There was a short window the first week in May where many gardeners were able to plant between rains. Cold crops like broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts started well and continue to grow fast. Some potatoes rotted in the ground due to cool, wet soil. Old timers like me don’t plant tomatoes, peppers, and vine crops until the last days in May, and I think it saved a lot of replanting.
I see there are a lot of small apples on the trees, and blueberries forming on the bushes. The next crop to look forward to are strawberries. As cool as it has been, I would think that strawberries would be delayed. I’m sure growers hope the weather will be dryer and warmer for the June berries. On the heels of strawberries are summer raspberries and blueberries. Oh, where is the summer going?