It’s time to get serious about spring planting

Oklahoma weather is always interesting, always changing and makes gardening here a little extra challenging.  In my last column we talked about how far ahead of normal we were.  We promptly had two pretty hard cold fronts, taking us well down into the 20’s.  We appear to have gotten very limited damage in central Oklahoma.  I suspect northwest Oklahoma got a lot more damage to their trees, shrubs and plants that were already budded out since they got much colder.  Here in the city I have seen Azalea flowers that turned brown with freeze burn and I have seen some of the new tender growth shoots on mums, grapes and other flowers that froze out, but on most of these plants the older growth appears fine and new growth should sprout out from below the freeze damage. 

Historically we have now had our last freeze and can get serious about the business of spring planting.  If you plan to plant a vegetable garden, this is the time to start planting your tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other warm season vegetables.  Many folks are planting vegetable gardens for their first time this year and the quicker you plant, the longer the harvest season you will enjoy.  Tomatoes and peppers are the lead vegetables for most every garden, but think about the other vegetables you enjoy and plant some okra, sweet corn, squash, beans, melons or other healthy vegetables.  Nothing beats harvesting and eating your own fresh vegetables and it can save you significant expense on your grocery food bill at the same time.  If you don’t have room for a vegetable garden, plant at least a few vegetables in large containers on your sunny patio or around the house to get a taste of this fun. 

This is also the time to plant most all kinds of ornamental plants to beautify your yard and feed your soul.  Most of us are spending more time around home this year instead of traveling, so this is a great time to plant more trees and shrubs in your yard.  Consider adding some new flower beds, build a raised bed or add more large decorative containers to plant more perennials or annuals to beautify your home.  Most every garden should include some annuals for the color and excitement they add to the garden through the whole garden season.  Plant begonias, impatiens, petunias, marigolds, zinnias or any of the hundreds of other annuals that create the look and color you want in your yard.

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