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Jessica’s Garden: Geared Up for Spring

 

crocusCrocus

While it’s not officially Spring yet, all the signs of its commencement are appearing; it’s so close you could almost reach out and grab it. We’ve been teased with a few gorgeous Spring days already. The crocus and snow drops are blooming. Daffodils and spring bulbs are emerging. Our chickens are finally laying again. It’s time, and I couldn’t be happier.  We spent a day outside last week Spring Cleaning around the property. It’s been a particularly long Winter for our family with my long lasting pregnancy. We are feeling refreshed already by the few days spent in the cool breeze and warm sunshine.

fresh-eggsFresh Eggs

While Spring may not yet be official, we have officially stated planting for our 2016 harvest season. It’s always this time of year, when we get a taste of nice weather, that I start craving our homegrown produce. I’ve found one of the easiest ways to satiate this craving is to start some indoor micro greens. Within a week of sowing, you’ve got fresh homegrown greens for salads and sandwiches. We’ve currently got cress and red kale micro greens going. My favorites are the Botanical Interests sunflower micro greens and also their red kale. I was given the cress seeds and we’ve harvested a batch of these already; first harvest of 2016.  I’ve started some broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard and bok choy seeds indoors to transplant in a few weeks.

microgreensMicro Greens

I also cleared out my raised garden bed last week and harvested the rest of the carrots that had survived Winter. After turning the soil to loosen it, I set up baby Hazel in the sunshine, and Grayson and I filled it with red onions, garlic and leeks. I’ve never truly successfully grown onions or leeks. I think I get them in the ground too late and the heat knocks them back. But I’m ready to set 2016 on fire. So I’m hoping getting them going early and that a raised environment versus my standard garden may provide the conditions they need to thrive and produce.

baby-hazelBaby Hazel

Garlic is a new crop for me. Each year, I like to pick some new crops to try. Some previous, less successful vegetables may get booted from the garden rotation and replaced by a new endeavor. I acquired an obscene amount of garlic from Grayson’s Fall Festival at school last year from a local farmer and still have many bulbs left. I took the couple that had started to sprout, broke them apart into cloves and planted them sprout tip up, root end down, in the raised garden. After just a week, the cloves and red onions have already sent out roots and up shoots. Onions are a wonderful crop to plant with kids. Grayson enjoyed helping me plant the onion sets in shallow trenches and breaking apart the garlic bulbs and doing the same.

By the end of the week, I hope to have all my peas and beans sown directly into the garden as well as some kale.  With warmer weather just around the corner, it’s time to get outside, get your hands grubby and soak up some vitamin D. I know our family is ready.

by Jessica J. Crawford Behnkes Garden Blogger

Stephanie Fleming

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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