These are my three favourite spring greens to grow this season – silverbeet (chard), misome and cavolo nero kale. They are powerhouses of nutrition and fibre, perfect for kickstarting your energy levels after a long winter.
Spring in New Zealand
Here in New Zealand we have well and truly entered the beautiful season of spring!
Technically, a New Zealand spring has a starting date of September 1st (based on three month divisions of the four seasons in the calendar year), or September 21st (based on equinox and solstice).
Spring is a time of emergence, vitality, cleansing and new growth. Intuitively, we can use spring time to gently emerge from our winter slumber, stretch our body and begin to warm up to the change of seasons. It is important to acknowledge and follow your natural cycles and seasons within.
If you feel you need extra rest despite the ‘spring fever’ energy, take the time you need. However, it also important not to resist the change of external seasons but instead flow with them. Be gentle with yourself as you adjust to the new pace of the spring season.
A New Cycle Begins
For some of us, the continuous worldwide lockdowns have shaped our daily life into one of monotony and restriction, akin to a never-ending winter. We have been unable to go out and explore, socialise and be adventurous for the majority of the past year (or two!).
As spring energy flows through nature and through us as humans, we may now feel pulled to try new things. We are emerging from a long hibernation and now feel ready to venture into new horizons. As the daylight hours stretch longer and the weather warms up, begin to notice the patterns in nature that show you life is about to bloom.
Regardless of the continuous restrictions imposed upon us, nature is not bound by these same laws. Nature follows its own rhythm, its own cycles and responds to its own patterns. The baby birds are hatching and the bees are searching for flowers and nectar. The flowers are blossoming and the green growth in spring crops is vigorous and abundant.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How can I connect with the flow of nature this spring season and bring this energy of renewal and growth into my life?
How can I find freedom within myself, away from the constraints of everyday life?
What can I do to create a healthy distance from the stress of my external surroundings?
Inviting in Spring
Affirmations are a wonderful way to invoke a positive mindset and bring forth new ideas. Invite the abundant energy of spring into your life this season with the following affirmations:
I welcome the warmth and increase in light and energy that the change of seasons bring.
My body and my natural surroundings thrive in the abundance of spring.
I experience joy through all seasons of nature and I am open to new experiences of life in spring.
There are many other ways we can invite spring into our life, such as increasing our intake of water, green vegetables and fruits.
It may now feel more natural to enjoy fresh salads and raw vegetables as the weather warms up. You may also enjoy refreshing herbal teas and fruit smoothies now, more so than in the cooler winter months.
If you’re feeling very spontaneous, you may want to move your body more through physical activity like jogging, yoga, nature walks or dancing! I know I’ve been enjoying dancing to 70’s disco music during the day when I need a boost of motivation.
Spring in the Garden
Another way I love to receive the spring season is to get active in my vegetable garden. I tend to garden according to the moon cycles and time my seed sowing and planting according to the lunar phases.
It feels incredibly exciting and encouraging to see seeds sprout and grow with such enthusiasm in spring! My favourite crops in this season are quick growing crops like salad greens and other leafy greens like silverbeet and kale.
Crops like carrots, turnips, beetroots and potatoes can also be planted now, but they will not be harvest ready until a few months later.
In my garden this spring I have planted many different leafy greens. Salad greens like rocket, mizuna with green and purple lettuces are almost ready for the first harvest. Other crops I planted in late winter/early spring have grown to full maturity and are now ready to be enjoyed.
Spring Greens to Grow
Silverbeet, also known as chard is a kiwi favourite. It grows easily and without too much fuss; give it a regular drink of water and it will produce nearly all season long. I grow rainbow coloured and regular green silverbeet. I love seeing the bright coloured stalks in my garden and the young leaves are tender, melting into quiches, curries or a quick stir fry.
Misome is an oriental crop, related to tatsoi and is my favourite spring green to grow. It is extremely fast growing and tastes delicious! The plants go to seed as quickly as they grow. This makes it a crop suitable for cooler areas in the garden or reserved for early spring/autumn only. However, do try planting it because it really is worth it, the flavour is phenomenal. It looks beautiful growing in the garden too with its dark green savoyed leaves.
Kale, a nutritional superfood! I’ll admit that in my experience working with clients as a holistic health practitioner, not everyone is a big fan of this vegetable. “Tough”, “bitter” and “yuck” are the most common comments about kale! Truly, to enjoy kale properly I recommend having it when the leaves are young and tender in spring. Otherwise this is a winter crop that will taste much better after a hard frost.
Kale is a beautiful addition to a raw salad. When dressed with olive oil, lemon juice or a tahini dressing any bitter flavours are mellowed, and the acid of lemon tenderises the texture into buttery soft leaves.
I’ll be sure to share my favourite spring greens recipes soon! In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful spring season and enjoy your time in the garden this labour weekend.