Rain brings relief in dry conditions

This last week we finally got a little relief from the persistent onslaught of 100 degree days across most of Oklahoma. It was a real blessing to get at least a little rain and some cooling. Hopefully we will continue to enjoy some relief from these intense summer conditions. The plants that have survived in reasonably good condition will respond to cooler temperatures and your continuing application of refreshing water with a flush of new growth and renewed vitality.

However, we are still very dry. The limited rain we have received has not soaked very far in the ground and still dries out very quickly, so you still need to be watering regularly. It is particularly important to soak your trees and shrubs so that they can benefit from any reduction in temperatures and rebuild their strength this fall before confronting another hard winter.

We are still battling summer but now is the time to be planting our fall vegetable gardens. Don’t even start planting fall veggies unless you are committed to watering these tender plants until Mother Nature gets in fall mode and starts providing adequate moisture. You can still plant tender vegetables like bush beans, lima beans, cucumbers and summer squash that will need to be harvested before the first frost or freeze which usually occurs in early November. There are many semi-hardy vegetables you can plant now that will often survive and keep producing even through the first several light frosts this winter. You can plant root crops like beets, carrots, leek, onions, parsnip, radish, rutabaga and turnips. Many leafy vegetables do well in the fall garden including cabbage, Chinese cabbage, kale, leaf lettuce, mustard, spinach and Swiss chard. You can also grow great fall crops of broccoli, Brussels spouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi and peas.

Visit your local nurseryman to get plants or seeds for these vegetable crops if you want to grow some of your own fresh veggies this fall. Make sure to water the ground well the day before planting and then be prepared to water these fall crops regularly.

Several have inquired about fertilizing now. Please wait until the plants are less stressed, it cools down a little more and we begin to see new growth coming out on our trees and shrubs. Your plants are already weak and stressed from the constant heat so please be observant of any significant pest or disease problems and take action to get these problems under control. A healthy plant just like a healthy human can better defend itself from other problems and a weak or stressed plant is more vulnerable to other troubles.

Don’t forget to water, even soak your existing landscape and have fun planting your fall vegetable garden.

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