Now that may sound totally crazy (especially when our last spring frost date is around June 12th or so. But there are a few crops that need to be started early. One of these is my favorite pansy, Sweet Ruffles, which I tuck around the front edges of some of my flower beds. Another, new to me this year, are a few varieties of Habanero pepper. These hot peppers are slow to germinate and slow to get large enough to set outside or make a crop, even in the hoop house, unless started early. So, I’m getting my containers, six packs, and ProMix potting soil ready to go tomorrow. The ProMix has been sitting on our enclosed, unheated back porch and is frozen solid like a block of ice. It needs at least 24 hours to get thawed out enough to dig some out for my seeds. I use very hot water in the mix to moisten it as no plants germinate well in very cold soil. And peppers don’t at all. They prefer temperatures in the high seventies.

After planting my seeds in moist ProMix, I put the container inside a plastic bag to hold in warmth and moisture until they sprout.
Here’s some of my last year’s seedlings, just prior to transplanting into Styrofoam coffee cups.

Today, the sun is out, and the snow and wind have finally quit blowing. What a relief. Not only for us, but for the deer too. This morning, when I went out to do chores, the resident deer herd I feed was lying down on the plowed driveway, enjoying the sun while they waited for me to come with a bucket of corn. They looked so comfortable. And, because of the sun, I’m thinking about the gardens and the beautiful crops that we’ll be seeing before too long. We get antsy this time of the year, just waiting!

No, my plants don’t look like this now. But in three months, they will! So encouraging.

Will continues to do very well. Yesterday, he went to cardiac rehab and checked out very nicely; nothing strange after his exercises. We’re really happy about that. And, today, we paid off Will’s new-to-us diesel truck he went to North Dakota to buy (no rust as they don’t use tons of salt like they do here!). It feels so good to be debt free! Debt sucks your soul out, I’ll swear. Some is necessary but I always feel like someone cut my shackles off when we get paid off. We are so blessed, and we know it! — Jackie


  1. So, I jumped the gun and direct sowed peppers the first of February. Watered them well. Zip, nada. We had 3 freezes. Just 30ish, but still. Anyway, I didn’t bother to cover them with everything else.. Went out and bought plants, instead. When I went to plant them, I found rows of 1/2″ peppers peeking up.

    • Wow, that’s something! Peppers don’t germinate well unless the soil is warm. Like 70’s warm. Your seedlings are tough little guys!

  2. Jackie, thanks for the update. Have you ever tried winter sowing? It seems to be a big movement right now. Planting cold hardy varieties out in milk jugs and just waiting for them to get going on their own outside. Those who have tried it swear that their plant starts are hardier and don’t need to be hardened off. Just wondering about your two cents worth…and boy what a winter we are having here in northern Minnesota! I think its been about 8 years since I’ve seen this much snow.

    • No, I haven’t and won’t start. That might be fine for folks with a small garden and milder climates than we have. But we have over 3 acres in gardens and have to spread rotted manure on some in the spring, plus tilling them all. Can you imagine all the work and mess involved with trying to do that around milk jugs? Not to mention the weight of the snow would crush the jugs down flat by spring. Nope, we’ll stick to regular gardening regardless of new fads.

      • That makes sense. I think most folks who do it are small time gardeners and the milk jugs don’t go into the garden space. They tuck them next to a south facing wall. I’m so glad Will is healing well and that your propane got filled up. Looking forward to meeting some day this spring hopefully. God Bless you and yours. Nancy

  3. When we sold the farm my husband inherited from his parents we paid off our house. The best decision we ever made. Now that my husband is in heaven I am so happy that we did that as I wouldn’t have been able to stay here and pay decent sized house payments. Our new tax assessment went up a fair amount – I live in Kalamazoo Michigan. i just wondered if anyone else is experiencing that. I think it is because houses are selling for a lot more than they were.
    Congratulations for being out of debt. What a relief. Happy that Will is continuing to improve.

    • The increase in taxes is happening nearly everywhere. I think, too, that it’s because of the real estate boom where property is selling for inflated prices.

  4. Good news all round! Being debt free it the biggest blessing. ( besides good health). You can sure get by on a lot less when you don’t owe for anything, especially if you garden and preserve. Continued prayers for you and Will.

    • Thanks Marilyn. We continue to count our blessings, especially during this stressful time. (I know, I for one, am planting more this summer due to the possibilities caused by Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.)

  5. I lovecseed starting and carrying for seedlings. Some of tomatoes are already 4″ tall. I live in the mo ozarks but start mine earlier then most because I keep my house cold as in the 40s and somet cooler to save on the electric bill. Because of this my plants grow slower. I start start my seeds in 4 6 packs on a seed heating mat with domes then once the germinate move to a light stand. I divide tge plants when big enough then put in square black form pots. They stay in these pots till I plant outside in late April or early may. . By then they are ready to get planted being they have outgrown the pot. It works for me and I reuse the pots several years.

    • Sounds like a great method. I, too, recycle my Styrofoam cups. Some, I’ve used for six or seven years now! I never thought they’d last that long. Good growing!!

  6. Yes, it is. I, too, have found that the “biodegradable pots don’t work. When I did use them, I ripped the bottom and lower sides off before planting and that seemed a waste.

  7. So thankful for this Great News Jackie!! Do you and Will have any Hawthorn?? So good for the heart:) You are a Wonder!! Read you for years–to quote you above, “I’m blessed and I know it!”

    • Jackie. Quick update. Hawthorn is great for the heart when other medications are not involved. Linden tea is a completely safe option that would be better if medications are part of the picture. I love hawthorn but just found out it’s problematic with pharmaceuticals. I’m so glad Will is better and you’ve both been granted so much grace together😊

  8. When my husbands father passed away, the first thing we did with his inheritance was to pay off our house! Felt so good!

  9. I just was organizing my seeds yesterday, from this year and the last two years. And I had to get in another room for about 20 minutes. My 2!year old decided it would be a good idea to open seeds and pour the contents on the couch. Thank goodness she only got about 4 before I got back. All of which aren’t varieties I bought this year. But still frustrating! I am looking ahead to starting my seeds next month. I got too far behind last year with many of them!

    • Hey, that happens. Perhaps you could help her plant her own little garden with the mixed seeds. You never know what might happen. She might turn into a homesteader!

      • She was devastated at the thought we couldn’t plant the seeds. She wanted me to go out and dig up the garden so we could plant. She is a little homesteader in the making. She’s not even three and knows eggs come from chickens and ducks, milk comes from
        Cows, and that diesel trucks have big power! She’s the best 2 year old I know.

  10. One cannot beat being debt free (and adequately insured be it P&C and/or health). When times are good, the extra can go to savings, invested, and/or used for cash purchase of necessity/good deal.
    Question – you start plants with ProMix. Is ProMix what you used when you transplant to Styrofoam coffee cups? I used supposedly biodegradable pots last year which did not biodegrade fast enough and the plants became too root bound once planted in the garden.
    Already decided I’m not planting one of the two varieties of garlic next fall. I’m months away from harvesting garlic yet planning already lol. I guess 300 years of farmers before me kind of explains it.

  11. Glad to hear Will is healing well, and we know Spring is coming when you start the first seeds. We’ve been getting cyles of cold, freezing rain, ice storms, then sudden warmth and big floods- extremes! getting my Seed Treasure order finally completed to send to you, and shopping around for a medium-sized woodstove (any recommends?) Got a gift of venison from our nephew and making some chili to have the next couple of days when yet another ice storm comes in. Thanks for the Promix recommend, tried some others last year and disappointed. Love the expression on Will and Mitten’s faces!

Comments are closed.