I impulse ordered some asparagus roots for fall planting, and they just...

Asked November 23, 2014, 1:17 PM EST

I impulse ordered some asparagus roots for fall planting, and they just arrived. We've had hard frosts, days in the 30's, snow on the ground all week, and now freezing rain. I'm not planting in this weather! Can I wrap the roots in plastic and put them in the freezer to plant in March? Or preserve them some other way?

Jo Daviess County Illinois

1 Response

Thank you for your question to eXtension.

Asparagus crowns/roots that can't be planted right away should be stored at about 40 degrees F, and 85-90% humidity. They must not be allowed to dry out, but they also will rot if free water collects on the crowns.

What I would suggest is to get a batch of sphagnum peat moss chunks. They may be a bit hard to find at this time of year, but call your local garden centers. Soak the sphagnum in warm water for a while, until it absorbs the water (this may take overnight). Squeeze it out until it's damp, but not dripping wet.

Wrap the moist moss around a few asparagus crowns and place in a zip-loc bag. Place this in your refrigerator; the vegetable crisper drawer is usually ideal. Hopefully, the crowns will survive until spring this way.

Do not freeze the crowns, they cannot tolerate the temperatures most home freezers will drop to.