Proceed With Your Spring Plantings!

We have passed our last average freeze date for central Oklahoma so we can feel safer to proceed with many of our spring plantings. Just remember it was only a couple of years ago we had a fairly hard freeze on May 3rd, so we still need to be weather aware. If a late freeze does make an appearance be prepared to cover tender vegetables and annuals with blankets, sheets, boxes, hopkaps, styrofoam cups or overwintering fabric. Other than a surprise last freeze, you can plant away on tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and most of the other warm weather vegetables. You can plant most of the color annuals like geraniums, petunias, inpatients, begonias, salvia, zinnia, penta, marigolds and dozens of other flowering annuals. There are a few really hot blooded crops that will perform best if you wait to plant them until after May 1st when the night temperatures are consistently above fifty degrees. These heat lovers that prefer a later planting include okra, sweet potatoes, periwinkle and caladiums.

We had already given the “plant away” signal for most all of the perennial crops as most of them are more tolerant of cooler weather. Consider adding a combination of perennials and annuals to your garden. The perennials will come back year after year if you select a good location and provide for their water needs. Most perennials only bloom for a few weeks of the growing season but they can provide wonderful seasonal color and rarity to your garden with reduced or limited maintenance and care. Annuals only live one season and have to be replanted each season but many of the annuals will bloom for months or much of the growing season since they do not have to store energy or food to survive the coming winter, like perennials. This is a great time to sow lawn seed whether it is a variety of tall fescue for shady areas or a strain of Bermuda grass for sunny areas. This is a good time to fertilize your trees, shrubs, vines and lawn if you have not fed them yet this year. If you haven’t had a soil test to know exactly what your soil needs consider using a good general purpose fertilizer when the three numbers of nitrogen-phosphorous-potash equal over twenty and have at least some of all three key nutrients. This could be blends like 10-20-10, 21-7-14, 13-13-13, 20-20-20, 17-6-6 or many others. Please water well within a day or two after applying fertilizer if you are not blessed with a good soaking rain to water in the fertilizer.

Many garden centers are offering a selection of summer flowering bulbs you can plant now to enjoy later this growing season. Select and plant dahlia and gladiolus for their flowers and caladiums and elephant ears for their impressive foliage.

Vegetable gardening has been growing in popularity every year and there are dozens of crops you can grow in the ground, in raised beds or even in container gardens. The best yields are often in raised beds or container gardens because the better soil mixes with great drainage and air movement in the soil but the traditional vegetable gardens in your natural loam or soil can improve every year if you will keep improving it with organic matter and mulch. Most every vegetable gardener grows some tomatoes and peppers but don’t be afraid to try root crops like carrots, radishes, turnips, potatoes and sweet potatoes or leafy crops like the many varieties of lettuce, kale, Swiss chard and others. Some of the most fun crops to plant are because of their rapid growth like watermelons, cantaloupes and the many varieties of squash. Even apartment and condo dwellers can tackle any of these vegetables in containers. They just can’t grow as many or as much as a vegetable gardener with a bigger plot.

We have about a seven month growing season so the sooner you plant now the more growth or harvest you can get from your garden this season. Plant away and have fun in your garden.

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