It’s finally May and today’s lunch included a lovely salad of freshly picked wild arugula, lettuce thinnings, baby pac choi (the ones that look like little green wide-based vases), radishes and mache, with finely chopped parsley and chives. The spiciness of the wild arugula is balanced with a sprinkling of a sweet touch of finely chopped dried or fresh fruit. In this case, it was mangoes. Hardy greens make for vitamin and mineral rich additions to meals at this time of year.
There is a thrill in picking garden greens at this time of year that have sprouted from seed. The arugula self-started from last years’ plants, and I always cherish their spiky leaves when I see them in March. Lettuce, radish and pac choi were planted in early March, and with floating row cover, survived the ridiculous long and hard hail we had two weeks ago.
I will plant more beet seeds again today; I am not sure if the ones I planted two weeks ago are going to thrive, given the pummeling of hail that coated the ground for a few hours. No worries, though, most gardeners are just starting to get their seeds and gardens ready for planting, and this is a good time to do so. I stagger plantings of different types of beets (Early Wonder, Red Ace, and finally Winterkeepers) every two weeks. Just be sure that you start from the back of your bed so that as the beets start growing up, they won’t shade out the newer plants. Once they get growing, the greens shoot up remarkably quickly. And thinning the small beets will be a treat a couple of months from now.
Spinach planted under cover in early March will be ready to eat starting this week! My garden is aimed at growing for two adults, and sharing abundant crops with family and friends when at their growing peak.Growing greens year round means I rarely buy greens from the store or market. I grow short rows, space them carefully so that they’ll grow optimally, and enjoy the thinnings along the way.
Leek seeds were planted two weeks ago, mainly because I learned years back, that if they are seeded in mid-April, the rains will provide the right moisture, and you won’t need to put much attention their way until they’re ready for thinning and transplanting. I prefer this option over buying transplants, although both work. Having your own nursery rows taken care of by the elements is a joyful part of being a lazy and productive urban gardener. Stay tuned for more on caring for leeks in the months to come!
May is an active month in the garden, so gotta grow.