Plan now for spring garden

We are still in winter but it is time to start thinking about spring gardening. The last couple of years huge numbers of Americans have rediscovered vegetables and fresh food gardening. Many Oklahomans have planted their first vegetables, berries and fruit trees in the last two growing seasons and it is unquestionably the fastest growing type of gardening.

Some folks do the traditional vegetable garden, others mix their vegetables among the ornamental flowers in their regular flower beds. Many have been raising vegetables in all sorts of container gardens, baskets and all styles of unique containers on their patios, porch or even apartment balconies. There is something very satisfying and fulfilling about planting your own seeds or small transplants, watching and helping them grow and then picking the fresh greens and fruit to add to your salads, home cooked dishes or just to eat fresh from the yard.

The planting season in central Oklahoma for most of the cool season vegetables is from Valentine’s Day in mid February to St. Patrick’s Day in mid March. The prime season is southern Oklahoma runs about a week earlier and it goes about a week later in northern Oklahoma as our state warms from south to north. Take advantage of the nice days at this time of the year to rototill or spade your vegetable garden or flower beds to prepare for spring planting. If you need to add sphagnum peat, aged compost or other organic matter this is a good time to get it worked into the soil so you are ready to plant when the time comes.

This is a great time to take a pint size jar soil sample from about 6” deep and have your soil tested at your OSU County Extension Office, located in the town that is your county seat. For a minimal change of $10.00 they will test your soil and advise what nutrients you have in ample supply and what you need to add to maximize your garden’s performance. You often can reduce or target your fertilizer use and save several times the cost of the soil test. It is also good for the environment to only use the fertilizer needed and thus reduce runoff of extra nutrients and extend the supply of our valuable fertilizer minerals.

The cool season food crops you will want to plant first include seed potatoes, onion sets and onion plants, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, swiss chard, kohlrabi, head or leaf lettuce, peas, spinach and turnips. This is also the time to plant asparagus crowns, strawberry plants and rhubarb as well as bareroot blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and grapes.

Get your soil ready and start thinking about planting cool season vegetables and food crops to grow your very own fresh food.



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