We spent a full day in the garden today, clearing our perennial bed, planting potatoes and sifting mulch. It was a long day, resulting in more than a few fatigued muscles. But it was worth it: this morning, we had our first asparagus sighting!

I looked up my first asparagus photo from last year and it was dated April 14. So today’s shoot is more three weeks early in comparison! I only just started poking around the patch last week – I feel like I got a late start! An early spring is a lovely thing. I love asparagus for many reasons beyond the fact that it is our first edible of the season. It’s a rhizome that delivers for many years after the initial planting – and there’s nothing I like more than a solid investment. It also produces for more than a month. So we can cut a serving of asparagus one day and collect another a couple days later, from the same plant. My favorite way to eat asparagus is to wrap it in a bit of prosciutto and grill it for a couple of minutes. Salt and smoke and sugars and that slightly bitter flavor – sigh. Only a couple more days now!

Our first round of radishes has also sprouted, which is tentatively exciting. You never know if you’ll get another cold spell that freezes anything tender, but for now I’m happy. They only take 24-29 days to mature in good conditions, so I am hopeful they will make a nice addition to future salads. We planted French Breakfast radishes. They are my absolute favorite for their shape, flavor and quaint coloring. In France, I’m pretty sure they just call them, “Breakfast radishes.”

We have a whole order of seed potatoes arriving in the next month or so, but so many of our potatoes from last year had started to sprout that we decided to just plant them in the extra space in our garlic bed. We have Russet, white, red-skinned and all-red potatoes in this bed. They are so very enthusiastic about growing that it’s difficult to ignore them. I’m especially fond of the all-red variety when it starts to sprout – the shoots are bright fucsia and so very cheerful.  I’m hoping for a fairly early crop of potatoes this year!

Recommended pairing: there’s a tiki drink called a Painkiller, right? Yeah, that one.