Rain, Arts Festival, Land Run, Yep it’s Planting Season!

It’s Oklahoma City Arts Festival Week so I guess we should have expected spring showers. Most all of the state has received nice spring rains the last ten days and a few areas have received even more than they could handle, mainly on wheat fields in southwest Oklahoma. Nearly all of our plants will really benefit from these deep soaking rains that provide life and energy to the plant world. Many trees, shrubs and flowers already appear greener, even shiny and seemingly stand taller and you can almost see them smiling and laughing with joy. These significant rains show the importance of well drained soil or planters for most crops. There will be some fungus and disease problems and even some plant drowning for plants in spots where the water stands and when plants go too long without a good supply of oxygen to their roots. One of the real benefits of improving your soil with organic matter over time is to create more air space and better drainage. That can be done by adding sphagnum peat moss or any of a number of kinds of good compost to your flower beds.

The big story as we celebrate the anniversary of the Oklahoma land run 127 years ago today is that this is planting season. Just as those early settlers rushed to plant gardens and crops at this season generations ago, this is our season to plant the crops we will enjoy and harvest for the rest of this year and for years to come. This is a special time of year when it seems we can and need to do most everything at once as spring opens a new growing season. We can plant most any container grown or balled and burlapped trees and shrubs with prospects for a very high success rate as long as we humans do a good job of watering later this year when it gets hot and dry. We can sow tall fescue grass seed in the shady areas, Bermuda grass seed in the sunny areas. If you are more impatient for new turf you can plant grass sprigs or lay sod for the quickest green lawn.

The stars of spring planting are the vegetables and color plants we add to the garden now to enjoy for the full growing season. This is prime planting season for the vegetables that anchor most Oklahoma Food gardens including tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. There are also many other warm season vegetables, fruits and berries you can plant now including container grown strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, blueberries and lots of other healthy and nutritious food crops you can grow in your own yard. The selection of color plants to liven up your flower beds, container gardens, hanging baskets and patios is expanding rapidly. New varieties are being introduced by the hundreds each year so there is always something new to try out in addition to the crops you have enjoyed over the years. The choices in perennials have really grown so it makes sense to add a mix of annuals and perennials to your garden. Most perennials don’t flower for as long but have a stage of great color before they start storing energy to make it though the following winter. The annuals, like begonias, petunias, impatiens, geraniums, penta, marigolds, zinnia and periwinkle put all their energy into growing and flowering to put on a show this growing season. We have over six months of prime growing season ahead of us before our first hard freeze next November. The sooner you plant your annuals and perennials the bigger they will get and the more you can enjoy them before winter arrives and closes out another growing season. We will get a nice growing spurt from most all of our plants after these renewing rains and as the temperatures warm up a little. Don’t plant in the mud but be ready to plant as soon as the earth is back to moist so you can get the most enjoyment and harvest from the full growing season.

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