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Jessica’s Garden: Sowing for Spring

Grayson and chickens

Not only has this week’s gorgeous Spring weather been more than welcome, it has also been wonderful and beneficial for everything around our budding homestead. The chickens are much more content with the fresh new grass to snack on and the lack of snow and wet mud. While I’m still awaiting to finally see some leaves on the trees, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my gooseberries and red currants are leafing out. After what has felt like a winter that would never end, seeing Spring come back around is refreshing for the soul.

A few weeks ago, I dabbled slightly in starting some seeds indoors. Even while sitting inside the windowsills, they were still not subjected to enough direct sunlight. So last week when I really got cracking on seed starting, I replanted most of what I had previously sowed. They other seedlings were too weak and etiolated; stretching for too little sunlight. And already just a week later, new and much healthier seedlings have begun to sprout inside my greenhouse.

I’m still working on my husband to let me begin an earthworm compost bin in the basement, as earthworm castings are very nutrient rich and great for plants. He will come around, he always does. But for this year, I thought I would give them a try so we could see for ourselves if there is a noticeable difference in the growth and productivity of our garden.  I am also putting forth a valiant effort to garden organically this year. As much as possible. I mixed four parts of organic potting soil to one part organic earthworm castings for a seed starting mixture. So far, it looks like everything is already off to a great start.

Starting seeds

I have been so tickled with Grayson’s excitement over the greenhouse. He’s been helpful and interested in the seed-starting process. But all I have to do is ask him if he wants to go check on my greenhouse, and he’s already beat me to the front door– wellies already on his feet and ready to roll. While his rambunctious self makes me slightly nervous inside the greenhouse, it’s great to watch him in there looking at the little rows of emerging seeds. He is so proud that he helped his daddy build it.

I am excited and also a bit nervous and tentative because I planted all the seeds that I saved myself from last season. I’ve never really saved seeds before those I attempted last Fall. The occasional poppies or columbines, but that’s about it. I saved about 15 different varieties of seeds last season, mostly peppers and heirloom tomatoes, and am sending out a little prayer to Mother Nature that they germinate.

With each day that passes around the farmhouse, our house becomes a little more of our home. I am overjoyed at the possibilities and opportunities this new life will afford our family. While sometimes I worry we may get too carried away, I also know this is the lifestyle I was meant to lead. As I made supper the other evening, and watched my husband and son, through our warbled glass windows enjoy an evening tractor ride, I know we’ve made the right decision for our family.   The beginning of Spring is always uplifting and brings lots of hope and motivation for a fresh start at a fresh season.

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.

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