Time To Start Thinking About The Early Spring Cool Season Crops!

It is already time to start thinking about the early spring cool season vegetable crops.  There are many food crops we can start planting about mid February although folks in southern Oklahoma or the early bird planters may plant even before that date. For most of Oklahoma, the OSU Extension Service has long recommended planting most of the cool season food crops between Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.  The cool season crops that do best when planted with that Valentine’s Day schedule include Irish potatoes, onion plants, onion sets, seeds of carrots, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, leaf or head lettuce, green peas, spinach and turnips.  This is also the prime planting season for plants of cabbage, cauliflower and leaf or head lettuce.  You can transplant bareroot strawberries, grape vines, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, youngberries and gooseberries.  Plant crowns of asparagus, horseradish and rhubarb over the next seven weeks to get established in your garden and produce year after year into the future.  This is also the season when bare root fruit trees and rosebushes are available to add to your landscape.  Remember that bare root trees, berries or plants will need to be planted right away or be temporarily planted into peat moss, soil mix or the ground until you are ready to plant in order to make sure they do not become dehydrated which will dramatically lower your chances of success when transplanting. 

 It is still way too early to plant out any of the warm season vegetable crops even using hot caps or row covers.  If you have a bright window or if you have a greenhouse you can start seeds of many warm season crops like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant to get them germinated and moved to pots ready to set outside when our freeze warnings have passed in early April.

The bright yellow forsythia blooms also signal the very best time to apply pre-emergent crabgrass and summer weed control.  There are many good herbicides or weed killers that work as pre-emergents to kill the weeds as they start to germinate.  Many people think of it as a birth control for weeds.  Most products only work if applied before the broadleaf or grassy weeds start to germinate so that makes timing very important.  Pre-emergents will kill seeds at germination for four to eight weeks after they are applied over the lawn or in flowerbeds.  Herbicides are available in granular form for spreading over the lawn or in liquid form to spray on the lawn.   They are available as just the weed killer or in weed and feed combination products that will feed your lawn while killing the weeds.  These products are sold under many brand names but the best products will include chemicals containing one of the following: Dimension, Balan, Treflan, Team, Gallery, Sulfentrazone, Barricade or Prodiamine.  You can start applying these herbicides or weed killers anytime but the very best window of control is usually when the forsythia are blooming.  Do not apply pre-emergent herbicides where you plan to sow grass seed or flower seeds later this spring. 

This is also a great time to do the soil preparation or improvement on new flower beds you plan to add this year.  This is the season of garden planning so enjoy your plant and seed catalogs and on-line searches as you make your landscaping and garden plans for the spring ahead.

                      

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