It’s about that time. Seed catalogues have been showing up in our mailbox. We’ve been checking on the seeds we’ve harvested. We are dreaming of our spring garden. Once Candlemas hits, also known as Groundhog Day, we will start drawing up our garden plans.
Last year was our first garden at our new home and the first year of fully embracing our new country/farm life. Our big garden was a success in many ways. We were able to eat produce all summer and fall, can some produce for winter, and even harvest seeds for the first time for the coming spring. It was also a good chance to try out new things and see what we like and what we don’t like.
Some favorite things we grew were watermelon, green beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, raspberries, birdhouse gourds, strawberries, and zucchini.
It was the first year that I have ever had a designated space to grow dry beans. We had some success, but I really need to plant more and have a taller trellis. We harvested plenty of beans to use as seed this year. We also harvested seed from our pole beans and bush beans, which were both abundant and delicious. The boys tried sprouting some of our harvested beans recently with success, so we are looking forward to growing a lot of beans in the garden this year.
We also saved radish seeds, watermelon seeds, and sunflower seeds. The sunflowers were great growers last year and added a touch of whimsy to our children’s garden area.
I loved having the space to grow flowers in our vegetable garden last year and I’m hoping to add a lot more. They attract the pollinators and add a ton of beauty in the garden and in my house. My youngest son really appreciates having cut flowers to arrange in vases in the house. And I love how he’s bringing the outside in.
We weren’t great at harvesting seeds from all of our plants, so we’ll definitely be ordering some more seeds in the next month. Purchasing heirloom seeds will give us the opportunity to harvest our own seeds at the end of the growing season this year. A few things we want to add this year are potatoes, onions, chamomile, echinacea, jalapenos, habaneros, and maybe some more blueberry bushes. I usually plant seeds right in the garden or purchase starts, but I think I’ll try growing my own starts this year and give ourselves a longer growing season. I’d love to have a greenhouse, but that’s a project for another year.
As I look at these tiny seeds and think of all that is packed inside of them - the potential for a magnificent plant, giving beauty and nourishment to the world - I can’t help but think of my boys. From before I could feel their little kicks in my belly, I wondered at their potential. Who would they be? What would they do? How would they impact my life and the world? Isn’t it amazing that within each small babe is a great spirit with goodness, light, and beauty packed inside? Just like a seed, these little souls just need to be planted in good soil and given light and nourishment to grow into the masterpieces they are born to become. Watching my boys grow, I catch glimpses of the great men they can become and the beauty and goodness they can give to the world. I know that as I am working with these boys, planting and caring for our garden, I am growing much more than beans and flowers. Each day, I am trying to give them what they need to become the men they are meant to be. The stuff of greatness is already inside them, and I get to watch it emerge and grow tall and strong.
What are your favorite things to grow in the garden? Do you harvest your own seeds or buy them each year? What are your best tips and tricks for starting seeds inside? When do you start your garden planning?