2017-04-20 / Home & Garden

Spring is an explosion of new life

Spring, as a word, is a very active concept: A release of coiled energy resulting in a change in place. The growth occurring now, in time lapse, would make it appear the plants are jumping up. The cooler crops are literally bolting. The lettuces and greens are completing their cycle of seed to plant to seed. The spring cycle is the fashion fair of colors and an explosion of life.

The average last frost date on the peninsula is February 28. A late cold snap can happen, but planting early allows summer tomatoes, peppers, egg plants and others more time to grow, set flowers and fruit during the spring growing temperatures. May is our prime harvest month and extends into late June. So we get 6 to 8 weeks in late spring or early summer before the temperature and humidity get high. Fruit production slows down once the temperature goes above 85 degrees, and the bud and disease rate goes up. Gardeners generally slow down with the temperature increase, as well.

The incredible rate of growth now is seen in peppers, tomatoes and squash. The incredible rate of growth now is seen in peppers, tomatoes and squash. Last weekend was Easter. Arising from death and an abundant life in faith are symbolic for religions. Gardeners participate in the circle of life with planting, nurturing and harvest. Planting a seed in the ground with anticipation of harvest is an act of faith.

I will be planting sunflowers, zinnias and other flower seeds through this week. This planting is a symbolic thank you; the beauty of life and the anticipated harvest are a kaleidoscope of colors and food for the soul. Most flowers planted now will be ready for Mother’s Day.

The tomatoes are 3 to 4 feet tall and loaded with flowers and early fruits as are the pepper and eggplant plants. The cucumbers and squash plants are getting big and will start to flower soon. The rate of growth now is incredible. I would love to see a time lapse of the growth.

The lettuces, greens and other cool weather crops will flower and get bitter soon. Kale and broccoli tolerate the heat better than lettuce. The combination of kale and broccoli leaves are delicious raw, juiced or cooked any way you like. As the collards and mustard greens get bitter, the kale and broccoli stay sweeter longer. As cool weather plants are pulled out of the garden, beans and field peas will replace them. This helps rebuild the soil. I plant beans and field peas in the rows, even before the cool plants come out, so the beans and peas are coming up as the lettuces comes out.

Of the four seasons, spring has to be the gardener’s favorite. Planting is a participation in the magic of the cycles of life. As we transition from the dark and cold into the warm and bright, the seeds we sow will be the harvest to come. Plant for food and beauty and enjoy the miracles of your time.

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