A: Asparagus is a unique vegetable. First, it is a perennial plant. Unlike tomatoes or squash, asparagus roots persist in the soil for many years. Second, you harvest asparagus before the plant’s leaves and stems appear. In contrast, for most vegetables, the first harvest comes after the plant has grown for several weeks. Asparagus spears emerge from the ground above the plant’s root system in February. You cut them off at ground level when they are 8 inches tall. After taking the spears for a couple of weeks, you stop and allow subsequent spears to grow into tall ferny bushes. They gather the sun’s energy until fall and then turn yellow and collapse to the ground. Next January, clear all of the weeds and debris from your asparagus plot. Visit the spot daily in February and look for the green spears to emerge. Harvest them as noted above. Fertilize the area regularly in summer to encourage strong growth, which will result in more spears next spring.
Q: Every year my donut peaches turn brown and rot when they get about the size of a quarter. I apply fruit spray every 7-10 days from bloom until late May and the same thing happens. Calvin Cain, email