It is planting time

We are now in the prime planting season for most all plants including all bedding plants and warm season vegetables. As the march of spring continues we are enjoying the beauty of peonies, rose bushes, snowball viburnums and many others as they come into flower. The sooner you plant your tomatoes, peppers,eggplants, melons, squash and other vegetables the sooner you can be picking fresh produce and enjoying your own home grown food.

It is now warm enough to plant all your spring bedding plants including the hot blooded crops like sweet potatoes, vinca or periwinkle and caladiums. Each year wehave many more varieties of colorful annuals and perennials available to expand your gardening palette. There is always a place and new varieties of the widelyused begonias, marigolds, petunias, zinnias, geraniums and impatiens.  Make a point to try some less common plants in your landscape like pentas, copper leaf plants,coleus and hundreds of others.

It is always fun to visit your local greenhouse growers and garden centers at this time of year to soak in the beauty and the sweet scents of spring. Then select some plants to take home and add to your yard. Remember to water in your new plantings and to water them regularly until they are established.Hopefully your yard and neighborhood got some rain this weekend. Most of Oklahoma has been very dry for months with many areas across Oklahoma in the midst of aserious drought. This season of early spring is a very special time of year with all the trees and shrubs producing a flush of new growth, the vegetables and flowers growingrapidly as they enjoy our warm days and cool nights. Spring provides the right temperatures, increasing hours and intensity of sunshine that creates a near perfect growing environment when mixed with April rain showers. Without the natural and regular April showers your plants will come under stress and not enjoy their full spring growth spurt.

Please pay attention to all your plants from trees, to lawn, to flowers, vegetables and container gardens and be watering them as needed to prevent stress and allow them togrow to their potential. Most crops need the equivalent of about 1” of rain each week during the growing season.  If there is no rain, these plants count on you to water them. It is best to soak them well like a soaking rain, not just squirt them. Remember that plants in containers will need more water, more often, than those in the ground. You may want to consider installing a drip irrigation system that uses less water but grows even bigger and healthier plants by slowly delivering the water right to the root zone of the plant.Don’t forget to mulch your flowerbeds with a 2” to 3” deep layer of natural bark or hulls to reduce watering needs as we deal with our dry conditions.

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