Nature, in flore, springs back at vernal equinox

I sought signs of vernalis in my garden today. Figured it would be an appropriate thing to do on the vernal equinox, also known as the first day of spring.

Vernal literally means “of the spring,” from the Latin vernalis. And I’ve long been known to toss around Latin phrases just to show off. Carpe diem! Although anyone who tasks me with plant i.d. can quickly tell that my gardener’s Latin is suspect, to say the least. Caveat emptor.

But on the first day of spring, as the lengths of day and night are at their equinoctial point, is a good occasion, ipso facto, to assess vernalis.

In a walk after lunch (post meridiem) I found evidence in many facets of my edible garden, which should not have surprised me. Every spring that I have been alive, and to my knowledge every spring throughout eternity, sprouts have risen and buds have popped in flore as the earth rises again to life. Ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

And here, in images, is the documentum. Q.E.D.*

Asian veg in cold frame

This cold frame is planted with bok choi (back) and tatsoi that I started indoors in January.

Corn salad

Corn salad (mache) growing wild in the mulch in front of my compost bin chopping block (which itself has been colonized quite nicely by volunteers).

Early Red Treviso radicchio

Early Red Treviso radicchio overwintered in a cloche and is spicing up our spring salads while Viola tricolor (Johnny jump-up) kept it company.

Mustard greens

Mustard greens, overwintered in a cloche, are exuberantly growing.

Pear buds

Buds on the pear tree promise sweet blossoms.

Artichoke

The fresh, silvery leaves of the globe artichoke cheer up a border bed.

Cabbage - probably

This is probably a cabbage, sprouted up from a stray brassica seedling. I have no idea if it will make a head. if not, I’ll probably start eating the leaves.

Mystery Brassica

This volunteer, clearly a Brassica but not clearly what type, popped up on the edge of a bed. Looks like a cross between collards and dinosaur kale. Also looks like good eating!

Red-veined sorrel

Red-veined garden sorrel sprouts back to life from a dense head.

Lettuce under cloche

Lettuce seedlings, begun indoors, gain strength under my Triangle Tunnel cloche.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

The plant is healthy but our cool late winter weather has delayed the buds on the Purple Sprouting broccoli. But they are coming.

Dino kale in bud

Lacinato (dinosaur) kale going to flower. It was planted too late last year to reach “full frame” before winter, but we’ll eat it soon and pull it up to make room for something new.

Garlic and bike

Garlic slices through the straw mulch behind a whimsical steel bike sculpture.

 

* Disclosure: I had to look up some of those phrases — okay, most of them — to make sure I was not misusing them too drastically.

 

Sweet Promises from Fruit in My Edible Yard

Vegetables aren’t the only edibles in my yard. I enjoy growing a variety of fruit, from berries to rhizomatous perennials to fruit trees. Their cheery buds and flowers fill my garden with sweet promises of desserts, jams, ciders and fruit salads to come. Here are more images from the first days of spring.

Sigerrabe grape bud

The Siegerrebe wine grape is breaking bud.

Strawberries in flower

Strawberries are forming flowers and new leaves close to the crown.

Blueberry buds

Buds on the blueberry bushes, with spring ephemeral flowers behind.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is sending out curly new leaves and showing bright red on its fast-growing stalks.

Bartlett Pear

Bartlett pear in flower.

Pear buds

Abundant buds on the Liberty apple tree.

Pear floweres

Exuberant flowers on a pear tree.

pineapple guava

New growth on the pineapple guava, which last year produced two bushels of its tart fruit!

Raspberries

Lush new leaf growth on the raspberry canes.

Plum flowers

Delicate flowers on the Italian plum tree.

Breaking Bud at Spring Equinox

I took a photo break from gardening on yesterday’s sunny Saturday afternoon, the first full day of spring. Here are images from my garden.

Broad Windsor fava flower

Broad Windsor fava beans are just a foot tall, but starting to flower.

Kosmic Kale

A new perennial kale, called Kosmic, was recently introduced by Oregon’s Log House Plants. I like its variegated leaves.

Chablis carrot

Overwintered Chablis carrots are finally starting to sprout some new leaves.

Lacinato kale in flower

Lacinato kale is in full flower. Leave have turned bitter, but I’ll let it stand to feed the early pollinators.

Mustard sprouts

The mustards Ruby Streak and Green Wave sprouted thickly.

Sprouts in the cloche

The spring cloche, planted two weeks ago, shows crammed rows of sprouts, and a couple of bare spots where the seed (probably too old) did not germinate. That’s an opportunity for a second wave of planting.

Bok choy starts

Newly planted bok choy seedlings are being protected under a grid of green fiberglass hoops covered in floating row cover.

Open cold frame

The last of the winter lettuce heads are ready to cut. This cold frame, which has a swiveling front panel, is wide-open for the warm weather.

Lettuce lineup

More mature lettuce from winter. This lineup includes, l-r, Red Velvet, Little Gem, Bronze Arrowhead and Simpson.

Giant Winter Spinach

Giant Winter spinach, also a holdover from the cloche, is ready for cutting, along with its arugula neighbor.

Garlic

Garlic always stands so cheerily above its mulch this time of year.

Champion collard in flower.

Champion collard in flower.

A new asparagus crown is sending up its slender, second-year shoots.

A new asparagus crown is sending up its slender, second-year shoots.

Osaka Purple Mustard

Osaka Purple mustard has been spicing up our salads all spring. Now the leaves are almost too hot.

Purple Sprouting broccoli

It is indeed sprouting season, and the shoots of overwintered Purple Sprouting broccoli is on our table nearly every day.

Sugar Ann snap peas

Sugar Ann snap peas on compact, overwintered vines are still in the cold frame, and already producing.