Nature Speaks: The Lusty Month of May

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Edible kale flowers
Article and photos by Jennifer Rotermund

"It's May, it's May, the lusty month of May!” - Guinevere, from “Camelot"

This month begins with the swift passing of Beltane, the Gaelic celebration of May Day, on the first of the month, thrusting us toward the ever-approaching climax of the Summer Solstice in June. Like an orchestral movement building to a crescendo, the fullness of May is upon us. Increasing soil fertility, warmer weather, and the occasional lingering rain shower collide in harmonious perfection to match blossom with pollinator in the dance of life.

Merlot lettuce
In the northwest, thanks in part to the Seattle Tilth, May is “official” start of the food-growing season for the bulk of the population who choose to partake in this divine ritual. Afterall, what’s more hedonistic than having fresh food waiting for you to harvest it just steps from your front or back door? My partner and I recently had friends over to dine with us, and after they arrived, we invited them to join us in harvesting the dinner salad together from the front yard. We then enjoyed a fresh mix of four different leaf lettuces, kale, spinach, chard, arugula, parsley, mint, lemon balm and kale flowers, picked only moments before with loving gratitude to Mother Earth for the incredible miracle of being able to grow such ample nourishment for us. Mixed with a little olive oil, a splash of lemon juice, a sprinkle of coarse sea salt, and enjoyed with great company, what more is there to want out of life? 

Mottistone lettuce
And, we Shoreliners have it so good here. Not only is the Seattle Tilth available, at our finger tips, but we have our very own Diggin’ Shoreline as a beautiful resource for food-growing inspiration. Then, if that wasn't enough already, it gets even better. Unsure of what to grow in your gorgeous soil? Our locally produced, Maritime Northwest Garden Guide has vegetable, herb and flower plant lists, organized like a month-by-month calendar, informing you of the best time to start each plant to insure success.

Our local nurseries are now stocked full of plant starts for an easy jump-start to your edible garden, from local growers, such as Rent’s Due and Langley Fine Gardens. Or you can be wild and courageous and start your food from its most humble beginnings - the seed - from local, organic, non-GMO seed producers, such as Uprising Seeds (now available at PCC).

Baby kale
It’s as if the universe has conspired to make it easy for us to be happy. If you have a plot of land, a ready garden bed or even just a sunny balcony upon which to cluster a few containers filled with potting mix, delicious food and the pleasures of the season are within your grasp. Here, at the start of the “feel good” season, life really can be that good.  

Jennifer Rotermund is the owner of Gaiaceous Gardens (an urban farming and wildlife gardening business with a teaching garden/urban farm and certified wildlife habitat/ sanctuary located in Shoreline). She is a Permaculture Designer, is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Habitat Steward and serves as a Docent at the Kruckeberg Garden. She is also an ordained minister with a particular focus on earth-based forms of spirituality.


Anonymous,  May 27, 2014 at 9:58 AM  

After reading this article I am ready to go vegetarian and grow my own food...Hey Jenn, how about coming back to New York and giving us some pointers in Gansevoort! Great job and keep up the good work.

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