Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Merry, Merry Month of May!

Hal an tow, jolly rumbalo
We were up long before the day o
To welcome in the summer
To welcome in the may oFor summer is a comin in
And winter`s gone away o

It's finally May! May 1, Mayday, Beltane, what ever you call, it is one of my favourite days of the year. We have an annual ritual among some of my friends to gather before dawn and head to High Park where we join a group of oddly dressed people singing, dancing and cavorting as the sun comes up. Some of my friends actually take part in the traditional Morris dances; I am content to stand on the sidelines , nursing a glass of spiked orange juice and shivering in the predawn chill.
Traditionally Mayday is the mid point between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice, and a celebration of a new growing season. Most of the rituals surrounding it are meant to ensure fertility- mostly of crops and animals! For me personally it's become a welcoming ceremony of another gardening season. Waking up at 5am ( or staying up all night some years!)and walking over to High Park reminds me that the days are getting longer and allows me to see my neighbourhood without the distractions of traffic and people. Dancing and singing with group of kindred spirits as the sun rises brings me joy. But best of all I know that the growing season is finally here and I will be eating straight from the dirt very soon!

Speaking of gardens, mine are coming along nicely! The lettuces, rapini and peas are looking good in ground and I've been nibbling here and there as I thin the seedlings. I've picked a few stalks of rhubarb, the strawberries are blooming and we've been eating spring onions frequently. Still to come are the beans, edemame, squash and cukes.

Up on the deck the tomato seedlings are taking over-there's over 40 of them and most are in transitional pots now, waiting to be planted in large containers to be grown on the roof. Last frost date is May 9 this year but that's never a certainty so the tomatoes must remain portable for a few more weeks in case of a late cold snap. The sunporch is still the back-up plan in that case and it's tricky to fit in 40 or so small pots ( and a seedling tray)if the weather turns nasty.

The herbs are growing full force now and I've been able to steal snippings to cook with already. The peppers and eggplants are lagging a bit but if we get the summer we've been predicted I think they will be fine- they do love heat!

I've still got lots of work to do to get up to speed- haven't planted a single flower yet but I have some seeded. The deck is still a mess as it's more of a planting station than a place to hang out currently. And that is the best thing about the first of May - I've still got lots of time!

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