Tis The Season for: Cool Season Planting, Watering and Early Cleanup!

We have been enduring a really serious winter this year but we get to come inside were it is warm.  Our trees, shrubs, perennials and other crops have to stay outside and survive the cold weather, blustery winds, snow and ice that Mother Nature sends our way.  Last visit we talked about how dry we are and the need to water our broadleaf shrubs, trees and other plants so they won’t dehydrate.  We did receive a little moisture with these snows, but since these snows came at such low temperatures it was very dry snow and it takes 10 or 12 inches or more of these snows to provide even 1 inch of rain.  Please take advantage of a nice day to get your important plants watered if your ground is still dry.

 It hasn’t felt much like planting season lately but we really are into cool season vegetable and berry planting season as soon as the ground is thawed and you are able to work the soil and plant.  The prime season to plant seed potatoes, onion sets and onion plants is from Valentine’s Day to St. Patrick’s Day.  The weather hasn’t allowed much opportunity to beat that start date this year with our parade of snow fronts.  This is also the time to plant perennial food crops like rhubarb, asparagus, horseradish and the ever popular strawberries.   Strawberries are available in ever bearing varieties that will produce less fruit at any one time but will produce fruit over a longer season or spring bearing varieties that will produce more fruit in one large spring crop.  There are many varieties of each of these crops so visit with your local nurseryman to select the best varieties for your area.  The OSU Extension service does a nice job of evaluating varieties for Oklahoma and recommending the varieties that do best here.  

If you want to raise your own grapes, raspberries or blackberries this is the time to plant bare root berries and start your own berry patch from which you can harvest for years to come.  There are many other berry crops that you can grow and will provide very healthy eating including blueberries, boysenberries, gooseberries and youngberries.  

There are many cool season vegetables seeds you can plant now when the weather allows you to work the soil.  Select good seed and sow carrots, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, leaf or head lettuce, green peas, radishes, spinach and turnips.  This is also the time to select and plant good small starter plants of cabbage, cauliflower, and leaf or head lettuce in order to produce your own fresh vegetables.  These cool season crops can survive cold weather as long as they are watered regularly but they need time to grow and produce their crops before the heat comes as these crops will stress more from heat then cold.  Please wait to plant the warm season crops like tomatoes, eggplant and peppers until we get past our last average freeze date in April.

If you want to cleanup your lawn from crabgrass and other summer weeds apply a pre-emergent weed killer or weed and feed product to your lawn over the next few weeks.  These pre-emergent’s kill those weeds that compete with your lawn as the weeds try to germinate.   Hopefully it will feel more like spring and less like winter by our next visit and you will have been able to start your spring garden. 

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