Sunday, March 22, 2009

Scenes of Spring!

The season of dirty hands, knees, and paws has officially begun. These are some of the seeds I got at our local seed exchange yesterday (the brassica vegetables kohlrabi, watercress, and Chinese Broccoli or Candlestick Gai Lan, and endive, pictured plus green soybeans called edamame, Cherokee Cornfield dried beans, and black-seeded Blue Lake green beans, not pictured). So, since directions for planting kohlrabi say that seeds can go in the ground as soon as the dirt can be worked, I planted 2 short rows this afternoon in our community garden with more to be planted in a couple of weeks.

It seems I did not take a photo of my rows of kohlrabi after I planted them (not that it would look like much!), but I did take several other photos of our community garden today to give you an idea of the little plot of land that we love and care for. There were several other gardeners with perennial plots who were out to do some clean-up, planting, rejoicing and enjoying the sunshine plus the (relatively) warm temperature, while remembering that we set a record for the amount of snow during the month of March last year in 2008.

Baby turnips and greens from Brines Farm, Dexter MI, purchased at the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market yesterday 3/21/09

Purchasing the little turnips and greens from Brines yesterday inspired me to look in my own garden for any possible overwintered turnips that were planted last fall. Well, ours are not as beautiful as Shannon's, and we have no real greens attached to them, but I was pleasantly surprised to actually find some small turnips in the ground that are intact and edible. We'll mix them with Shannon's for a yummy brassica veggie with tonight's supper.

Kaya, Garden Dog, surveying the garden from the one shady spot this afternoon. Once planting really begins, her 'indiscretion' about where to step with her heavy paws will mean that she'll either need to be on a "short leash" or left at home.

Earthworm quickly looking for a path back underground in the raised bed where the kohlrabi will be planted!

Garlic, two of our 309 cloves planted last fall, is peeking up! What little garlic we have left from last year clearly knows that it is spring as tiny green shoots are starting to form inside the heads we have stored in our basement.

Our bee box (no, not a bee hive) which provides shelter and an egg site for many of the other species of bees besides honeybees that are necessary to pollinate our vegetables.

Our overwintered kale (Red Russian curly variety). The kale that we put under a deep layer of straw made it through this long, cold winter. I did not take a pix of the other rows that did not get a blanket, but they are dead, dead, dead. These plants should all start growing soon and will ultimately flower and develop seeds to plant in the fall, starting the cycle over again.

I'm sorry the interesting rock did not look as beautiful in the photo as it did in real life. However, I was also interested in the feather lying next to it. When I began looking around, I saw many of these same feathers within close proximity to this one. Clearly some aspect of the circle of life, i.e., the food chain, happened in our garden or at least very nearby.

My favorite photo, even though it might arguably be the least beautiful. However, those viewing this who "know their birds" will be able to see enough to know that this is a Song sparrow and will also be able to hear its beautiful song in their head and heart. Nothing says spring is back like the beautiful song of the Song sparrow, nearly always sung from the tippy top of a small tree or shrub, right where this one was perching while singing its heart out looking for love just a few feet from me.

Ah, spring! More to come, much more in fact since it is only officially been Spring for 2 days. In Michigan, we savor each and every day that the daylight gets longer, we get more sunshine (and vitamin D), the air gets warmer, we can smell the earth, and more and more life reappears. We just soak it in!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate! It gets me outside to truly feel spring. :-)

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Anonymous said...

What lovely images of Spring and thoughtful words accompanying them. I love this earthy, "dirty" season, too.

Looking forward to watching the growth in your garden.

Kateri said...

Mmm, that kale looks so good. I am really craving fresh greens right now. Can't wait to start digging in the garden when we get back from Peru! (we leave tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Great and inspiring garden shots. I really must try overwintering kale - what a treat to have fresh leaves now.

I have always started my kohlrabi and other brassicas inside (they are already sprouted in my basement). I put the transplants in after a session in the cold frame, so they are actively growing. We'll have to have a race to see if the two methods differ in early produce. I planted the purple Kolibri variety. Don't know if they are better either nutritionally or in eating quality, but they sure are fun!

Diana Dyer said...

I'm not sure which kohlrabi I planted since the large envelope at the seed exchange only said kohlrabi and no one knew what variety it was. It will be fun to "race".

Buttercup said...

Check out my blog - I have an update on the kohlrabi.