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Jessica’s Garden: Crocus and Chicks Signal It’s Spring


When the crocus emerge and bloom it is without a doubt Spring. Ours have been blooming for about ten days now, so naturally I’m already feeling behind. I keep glancing out the windows at my garden, which is temporarily housing our chickens while we build a larger coop. The chickens need relocating and my garden needs fresh compost and cultivating.  And well before May 10, which is generally my seedling planting day.

Spring time is so exciting for me. After a long and grey winter, Spring is much needed for my mental health. I sift through all my seeds while planning and dreaming of the coming season’s bounty.  It’s like a treasure hunt every time I go through my box of seeds, because I tend to forget the exciting new crops I’ve picked out to try. I also tend to get a little carried away purchasing seeds.  Grayson and I have worked together a bit and I have worked some independently as well, during naps and after bed, on sowing seeds destined for my new greenhouse.


We have aspirations of building a greenhouse on our property from repurposed windows we have replaced and other salvaged materials. But that is just not in the cards for this year and likely next, as there is still an extraordinary amount of tasks and chores higher on the priority list. So we replaced my small greenhouse that bit the dust last season with a larger more deluxe version. By the time it’s seen its day, I’m hopeful we will have tackled my dream greenhouse out in the back garden.


There are many crops that I sow directly into soil as well. Some seedlings are not recommended for transplanting as they don’t survive the process well. Peas, beans, carrots, parsnips and leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce prefer direct sowing. So of course, I’m beginning to count down the little time I have to get this garden turned over. The chilly Spring so far had been a bit deceiving.  It’s hard to believe that April is here. In the words of my grandmother, it’s time to get cracking.

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We have also added another round of chicks to our growing flock. As I’ve mentioned previously, Stephanie Fleming started our flock by incubating a few bantam chicks for us last Spring. We added a few larger chickens last fall.  And this Spring we added another 14 chicks to the flock. We spend a lot of time sitting outside the chicken run, feeding them mealworm treats and just watching them interact.

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While the bantams are at least half the size of our Barred Rock and Black Australorp hens, they still run the place. I’m not sure any of them have realized who-out-sizes-whom yet. The bantams are picking up egg production while the other hens should be coming into egg laying any day now. After the acquisition of the chicks this Spring, we now have 9 breeds. In addition to the others mentioned, we are raising Araucana, White Cross, Light Brahma, Black and White Laced Wyandotte and Speckled Sussex chicks. I cannot wait to see the beautiful array of eggs laid, as each breed had its own egg character.

I have also begun planning my front flower garden design. The outside of the farmhouse has truly been last on the priority list. We have been mostly concentrating on renovating the inside spaces to make them clean and safe for our little family. The outside has been only maintained through sparse weeding and regular mowing. This season however, it is on. I am anxious to tear out the over grown yews blocking our beautiful home and replace them with colorful flowering shrubs. I dream of transforming the whole front of our home into an overflowing and brilliant English garden, much like the gardens at my grandparents farm in England.

So now that it’s Spring, it is time for us to put away the drywall, spackle, primer and paint, at least for a bit, and get outside and play.

Posted By: Jessica J. Crawford Behnkes Garden Blogger

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.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Oh Jessie! Such energy! Your UK Grumpa is strictly a broad brush gardener- let it all happen and chop out the bits you don’t like (occasionally). You shame me!

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