Some springs gardeners can lose about a quarter of their asparagus crop to a couple of back-to-back cold nights.
Yes, emerging asparagus is frost-tender, but just how tender? The critical temperature turns out to be around 28° F, according to the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in West Virginia. In many years, asparagus can get frosted with no problem at all. But if the temperature is predicted to drop into the high 20° Fs, some simple frost protection can bring you through with most of the crop intact.
The researchers, Rajeev Arora and Michael Wisniewski, say that a sheet of black plastic can be enough to protect them. Only 17% of the spears in a covered plot were ruined, compared with almost 80% damage in the uncovered plot.
Article published on June 23, 2008.