Grit Blogs > Backyard Baers

Springing Into Action

Benjamin BaerIn just our second year living in a state that sees some form of a winter, we are quickly realizing how excited one gets for spring. Living in Texas and Florida, we really never had an appreciation for the arrival of spring. I mean, in both states, you pretty much have summer and summer-light. So, seeing temps in the 50s and 60s has had us jumping for joy.

Now, before all you good folks in Minnesota and Wisconsin jump to remind me Virginia’s winter is spring compared to what you guys have to deal with, I know, I get it; but, as far as I’m concerned, any place that sees snow, ice and temps consistently below freezing has a winter.

However, as we get ready for spring, I remind myself, and family, that our winter really wasn’t bad compared to past years. We got 44 inches of snow and ice at our home, which is at 2,300 feet elevation, compared to 37 inches at our rental last winter, which was at 700 feet. One of my neighbors said last winter they got 67 inches, which is closer to the norm than the 44 we got this year.

So, while we are excited for spring to get here and put the snow and cold temperatures behind us, I’m trying to keep in mind that Old Man Winter really took it easy on us for our first year in our home. We made the best of it though, and it was a season of several first-times for our little family. Last year, our daughter was so young; we really didn’t get a chance to do anything in the snow, except watch it from the warmth of our rental. This year we went on walks in the woods, got to go sledding, and our daughter got to play in the snow for the first time ever.

We are definitely preparing for spring though. Last weekend we planted some seeds to officially start the garden. We started by making a bunch of little pots out of newspapers. The idea is for us to do this ourselves, not go out and buy a bunch of pots or some kit that does everything for you. Much to my wife's dismay, we have no shortage of newspapers. I have refused to throw them out because I knew I would eventually have a use for them, and it drove her crazy to see a pile of newspapers sitting there.

Well, it recently occurred to me a pot made out of those would be perfect, not only to sprout the seed in, but when we transplant, we can just throw the newspaper in the compost. Win – win. Good thing I held onto all these newspapers!

Our little newspaper planters

Our little newspaper planters.

Once we got all of our pots together, we planted tomatoes and peppers. Previously, we’ve only grown herbs, so vegetables, and seed-starting, is a brand new game for us.  

We’re starting small, and we’re starting easy. We keep our house pretty cool, around 67 degrees, so right now we are keeping the seedlings above the fireplace to try to keep them warm. Once they sprout, we will move them to the basement where we will keep them directly under two 48-inch fluorescent light bulbs. Then once it has warmed up enough, we will move them all outside to transplant.

At that time we’ll plant the rest of our garden, and depending on how seed-starting this year goes, will dictate how much more we start next year. It’s all part of the process, one day at a time.

PKB planting some seeds

PKB and I planting our seeds.

elizabethsagarminaga
3/16/2015 12:26:00 AM

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nebraskadave
3/15/2015 8:46:37 AM

Benjamin, glad to hear you are venturing into growing vegetables. I have hopes for a good gardening year but already the weather here in Nebraska is acting a little strange. The weather is way too warm for this time of the year. Temperatures in the 70s and 80s is definitely not the norm. We've had very little snow over the Winter and no rain yet this Spring so the challenge begins with drought conditions. Every year has a new set of weather challenges. Water seems to be the one to deal with this year. I love to see parents teaching their kids about growing food at a young age. So many children today think all food comes from Walmart and don't have a clue about how it got there. ***** Have a great seed starting day.