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Jessica’s Garden: Wishing for Warmer Weather

I just couldn’t take it anymore. Every time I blink, it feels like another blanket of snow has shrouded the layers of already fallen snow and ice. I needed to feel like Spring was in sight; after all, the first day of Spring is only days away. So I warmed up the car, bundled Grayson up in his cold weather gear and we headed to Behnkes’s to start planning our Summer garden.

Grayson picking seeds at Behnkes

I have a self-control problem when it comes to purchasing seeds. I have to remind myself of the space already cultivated and the work required to break more ground. I also have to remind myself of the several fruit seeds I saved from last season. And then just as quickly I justify why I need more. I am particularly fond of the seed company Botanical Interests. I have had great success with germination and harvest from all of their fruits and veggies that I have tried; which I cannot say I’ve experienced with all seed companies. And the seed packets are so beautiful. I have aspirations of framing and adorning a future potting shed with the leftover packets.

My Botanical Interests seed haul

Grayson and I carefully picked out lots of tried and true to us varieties but are also going to try a few new plants this season. I have learned that I am hopeless at growing broccoli. While I’d like to give it another whirl, I will wait until the fall when the weather is better for Brassica vegetables. So we substituted out some crops with less success for new experiences. We are going to try an heirloom rainbow corn, kale and radishes- all new to our family.

I think I’ve met my match at seed selecting. You’ve never seen a three year old’s hands move so quickly as one that is hastily sorting through colorful packets. He was certainly making me proud over his enthusiasm for our garden. Every year he shows more and more interest in how my garden works and it makes my heart flutter. He chose a pack of marigold seeds just for him.

He also very persuasively and a bit relentlessly convinced me of his great need for a pink piggy watering can. For the better part of fifteen minutes he explained how this pink piggy was going to be worth every penny in his devotion to watering our ‘matoes’ (tomatoes). So piggy in his hand and about a million seeds in mine, we were ready to get some seedlings going indoors in short order.

Mini Greenhouses for Countertop Greens

We also selected some seeds meant for growing on the counter year round. I have been going through fresh garden goody withdrawal and thought a few indoor micro-greens might satisfy the gardening itch a bit. I save bakery trays and their clear lids for such projects. I have tried cress before on the counter with decent luck but decided to go for some baby red winter kale and sunflower micro greens. Both are packed with lots of vitamins and nutrients.

After Grayson planted sunflowers

I poked a few holes in the bottom of the trays for drainage and Grayson filled them with organic potting mix. I made the mistake of letting him hold the opened seed packet; we will have an over abundance of sunflower micro greens. But we both learned a valuable lesson. I learned he’s still three and he learned how to effectively plant hundreds of seeds in about 2 seconds flat. I showed him how to cover the seeds with soil and lightly water. The clear lids act as a mini- greenhouse. Once the seedlings are sprouted, we will crack the lids for airflow.

I feel very fortunate that Grayson is showing an interest in many of the things that bring me joy in my life. I know that with a greater understanding of seeds and our garden, he will have a greater appreciation for his food and being adventurous with experiencing new foods throughout his life.

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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