Planting time is just around the corner

Everybody was getting excited about spring after our big Christmas Eve storm and then we got punched again this last week with another round of snow and ice. Just as the sun rises each day we know that spring really will come and this year it will seem more special because of the winter weather we have experienced.

It is time to clean out those flowerbeds, take soil tests, prepare the soil and get ready to plant for a new season. It is time to start buying and planting the first vegetables and berries of spring. The weather warms across our state from south to north so the folks near the Red River can usually plant 7 to 14 days before the folks near the Kansas border. Remember we will frost and freeze many more times with our last average freeze usually around April 7th or in a little over 2 months from now. Many cool season crops can be planted now and will tolerate our normal February and March weather.

Fresh asparagus is one of our most expensive vegetables and is a hardy perennial you can grow. Plant 3 to 5 crowns per person to harvest about 1 pound of edible stems or spears from each plant starting in year 2 for up to 15 years. Rhubarb is another hardy perennial grown from crowns. Plant 3 to 4 crowns per person if you like rhubarb. Spring bearing and everbearing varieties of bareroot strawberries are available at most nurseries and garden centers if you want to raise your own fresh strawberries for cobblers, pie, shortcake or just fresh, healthy snacks.

Onion sets and onion plants are available now to raise your own yellow, red or white onions. A good guideline is to plant ¼ quart of sets or 75 onion starter plants per person if you like fresh onions in your salads, on your hamburgers or sliced on the plate. Potatoes are one of the staple foods of many diets and now is the time to buy seed potatoes, cut them into 2 or 3 ounce slices with eyes or buds to plant in your garden.  There are many good varieties of white, red, yellow or gold Irish type potatoes so you can raise your own baked or mashed potatoes or cut your own French fries. Most folks plant about 6 to 8 pounds of seed potatoes per person.

The best time to sow seed for many cool season vegetables like carrots, swiss chard, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, peas, spinach and turnips is from Valentines to Saint Patrick’s Day. February 14 to March 17th are also good dates to transplant cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce plants.

You can raise all these crops in ground beds, raised beds and many folks are even raising some vegetables in large nursery cans or decorative containers on their patio or porch. Root Control, an Oklahoma company is having big success marketing their fabric tree bags in mail order catalogs and at garden centers for production of potatoes and vegetables on apartment patios and porches.

Use your imagination about where to garden but consider getting in on the fun to produce some of your own fresh, locally grown produce.

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