Thinking And Planning Season For Gardeners

The New Year 2014 has arrived and our lives have begun to settle back into some kind of normal pattern after all the holiday excitement.  This is usually the calm season for gardeners between the harvests and clean-up of last fall and the digging and planting of the spring to come.  This is the thinking and planning season for gardeners when all the new garden seed and plant catalogs arrive to tempt us with new varieties and new plant materials that we just can’t live without.  In the garden, as in life, it is always time well spent to reflect back on the successes and failures of the last growing season, to celebrate the new things we have learned and to plan for the next growing season.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan!”   That is a good reason to spend a little time here in the January & February gardening “off season” to plan what you want to tackle in your yard and garden this year.  Do you want or need to add more trees to your landscape?  Do you want to start a vegetable garden or make it larger or smaller?  Do you want to add a new flowerbed?  Are some of your shrubs overgrown and need to be cleaned out and replaced with young shrubs?  Do you want to start an herb garden, a butterfly garden or kitchen cutting garden?  Do you want to add a pond, fountain, patio or hobby greenhouse to your yard?

This is a great season to think about which of these or other gardening projects you want to tackle and then study and develop a plan in your mind or on paper while hibernating indoors for these winter months.  You can review the seed and plant catalogs that may be in your mailbox or flip through the many great gardening and horticulture magazines.  Look for appropriate gardening books at your local bookstore or library.  Attend gardening classes or lectures at your local garden center, extension office, and garden club or at the Oklahoma Horticulture Society.  These days there is an almost unlimited supply of information on any form of gardening available over the internet.  You can literally “google-it” to learn more.  Remember that gardening is very much a local experience with local conditions so remember you need to be your own editor over all the available gardening sources and data.  I put the highest value on information from your local nurseryman, garden center or your Oklahoma Extension Service.  They will have a better idea of what plants and even which varieties will do best in the local weather conditions, in local soil types and using local water.  Be wary of seed catalog, magazine, internet sources from distant areas especially the Northeast or Northwest United States that have way different conditions, when dealing with outdoor plant material, cultural or garden timing issues.  It is always good to look, dream and plan with all these magazines, catalogs and internet sources and then to visit with your local nurseryman and buy as much as possible locally.  Save the far off catalog and internet sources for real unique items and experiments with plants new to our area.

Take time to enjoy looking at your pictures of last year’s yard and garden, recalling the dreams of crops or trees you want to plant and then spend some time and effort planning your 2014 landscaping and gardening adventures. 

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