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Jessica’s Garden: Spring Gardening Itch

Grayson Planting Seeds

This week has confirmed my hopes that Spring is truly on its way. The weather has been undeniably mentally refreshing and rejuvenating. It felt wonderful to open the back door and release my cooped up toddler to run freely in the backyard for some much needed fresh air and vitamin D.

We spent a little more time this week making excuses to start sowing some seeds indoors. I am usually too far behind and unprepared to have productive early Spring vegetables such as cabbages and broccoli. But this year I am hoping we planted our bok choy early enough to at least be able to grow some baby bok choy before the weather warms up too much for them.

Grayson also planted some of the marigolds he picked out and a couple varieties of sunflowers. This week’s toddler planting session went much more successfully and smoothly than last week’s microgreens. The marigolds and sunflowers were a great size for his motor skills. They were easy for him to handle as I distributed them to him from the packet.

Little Kiddie Hands Carefully Sowing Seeds

He would scoop the soil into the trays; I would poke holes for the seeds and hand them to him. Then he would place the seeds gently in the holes and cover lightly with soil. It was an excellent exercise for both of us; he learned a little more about gardening and our food and I got to scratch a little of the gardening itch.

I am trying very hard to not get ahead of myself and get too many seedlings started as the garden tilling is still a few weeks away. Grayson and I also took a trip to get our seed potatoes. Last year’s crop was a bit of a disappointment. However, in years passed I had had excellent luck growing potatoes. In our old home, I grew them in large pots on our back deck to save precious garden space for other needier vegetables.

The large containers made for easy growing and harvesting. Once mature, I would tip over the container and sort through the soil. There was no waste from accidentally chopping them up while digging for them in the garden. I fondly remember growing potatoes as a child in my parent’s vegetable garden. It was always a bit of a treasure hunt sifting through the soil for the unexpected yield.

I’ve stuck with integrating potatoes in the garden not only because they are a staple but also because they are such a child-friendly crop. This year I picked a new variety for me called ‘French Fingerling’ which I am excited about trying.

I have had all winter to dream about and plan this year’s garden; and don’t think that I haven’t been. Every snowfall, I looked out the window and across to my garden imagining ripe tomatoes. Just getting these few trays of seedlings planted has already got me drooling over homegrown produce.

Our Pantry Project in the Before Stages

We are desperately striving to finish the next couple of indoor projects at the farmhouse before the weather breaks for the better. We are currently working on renovating a space on the back of our home as our pantry. As usual, all projects look terrible, then get worse before they get better. We are currently in the ‘worse’ phase. As the weather increasingly gets more favorable, it will be more difficult to justify working inside. Because once warm weather really comes in, we’ll be living outside, grilling everything and sitting around a crackling bonfire.

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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