Sankofa Garden Homes: Collard greens flowers in bloom!
CLARENCE GLOVER | 4/14/2019, noon
Sankofa Gardening Homes
“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” – Gerard De Nerval
Spring has sprung! After the cold of winter, the warmth of spring brings the ritual of renewal and rebirth. Trees, grass, flowers and plants that all seem to have died, experience resurrection as the sun shines brightly on them and release the dormant life within.
The release of this new life is no better witnessed than in the flowering process. All across Mother Earth we witness the beautiful blossoming of flowers of all colors, shades and shapes. They seem to echo to us that nature is not dead, but has only been waiting to rise again with the coming of spring. Together with birds, bees, hibernating animals and yes, human beings huddled in homes, spring ushers in the renewal of life.
During this season, I would normally write about preparing to plant by Good Friday as many of our “Africans who Built America” ancestors did. This year, Good Friday comes on April 19 – which is also my birthday – rather than March 30, like last year. The reason is because Easter is determined by the phase of the first full moon of spring and so varies from year to year.
I encourage you to reference my article, Planting by Good Friday’s Moon, printed in The Dallas Examiner, April 12, 2018. There you will be able to read how to prepare for planting by Good Friday.
In this edition, I want to share the joy I have experienced in letting my collard greens grow to their full flowering stage. We do not often see collard greens in this stage because we focus on the picking and eating of the leafy green part of the plants and never see the beautiful bright yellow flowers they produce.
As winter began to come to an end, I noticed that my collard greens, as always, began bolting. Bolting is when the warm weather encourages the development of flowering stalks in leafy vegetables. Leaves diminish in size and grow bitter and are inedible as energy flows to flowers and stalk.
You can prevent the bolting process by removing the flowering stalks and stems as they emerge to encourage more production of leaves. If you don’t, flowers will begin growing.
As I noticed yellow flowers growing, I began noticing bees in my collard greens garden. The presence of the bees excited me because I know the value of bees and pollination. Pollination is important for the production of healthy vegetables and plants. We need the bees for the pollination process. However, due to the use of insecticides and the loss of green space, we are seeing a reduction of bees and the pollination process. So rather than cut my flowering stalks, I chose to let them grow and encourage the pollination process.
As the flowers began to bloom, my yard became a welcoming card of springtime. Like the blue bonnets that usher in spring, my yellow collard greens flowers seem to shout, “It’s spring!”