Take time to plant ideas for spring

Happy New Year! This is always a special time of year as we celebrate Christmas, close out one year and welcome the new year.

Although it is not the best weather to be outside working in the yard or garden, this is still an important time on the gardening calendar. Besides shoveling snow and feeding the birds, this is the season to be planning your garden activities for 2010. Many of the garden seed and supply catalogs are scheduled to arrive in the mail right here at the turn of the year and help get us excited about the upcoming spring season. After the messy weather of the last couple of weeks I suspect many of us are really looking forward to spring 2010.

Just like some folks get excited about new cars or pickups, gardeners get excited about new varieties of tomatoes, peppers, marigolds and petunias. We have programs like the All American Selections and Oklahoma Proven to introduce new plant varieties and highlight great performers you may want to try in your yard. Many experienced growers keep journals or notes of what plants performed well and what plants did not do well in prior years. Other folks just kind of remember what they liked or didn’t like. This is the season for resolutions and planning so take a little time to think about or look at your notes, if you have them, to see what has worked well you want to repeat and what has not worked well where you want to try something new. Look through the seed catalogs or your gardening e-mails and pick out some new vegetables, bulbs, perennials, colorful annuals, fruit trees, berries or shade trees you want to add to your yard this season.

Vegetable gardening had dropped in popularity before last year when new interest in vegetable gardening and local food production skyrocketed with concerns about the economy and food safety. This resulted in many new gardeners we hope will return and expand their gardening experiences in 2010. Tomatoes are by far the most popular home gardening vegetable plant and last year was not a very good tomato year because of an unusually wet year alternating with surges of hot weather. We look for a better harvest this year.

Life almost always goes better with a plan, so this is the season to think about whether to create a new flowerbed, start a vegetable garden, add a water garden, add an outdoor living area, plant some new shade trees for the backyard or develop a new landscape for the front yard. Enjoy your houseplants inside but have fun as you start planning for the joys of spring outside in your garden and the real end of winter’s cabin fever.

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