World Naked Gardening Day on the First Saturday of May is the Season to Plant Away!

Today is the well publicized World Naked Gardening Day which is the first Saturday of May, but I suspect most Oklahoman’s will participate inside their safer protective clothes.  It is a good thing World Naked Gardening Day wasn’t last weekend when it felt more like winter then spring in Oklahoma.  The weather forecast looks like all the snow and cold is now in our rear view mirror and we really can concentrate on spring planting.

May is the season when we can plant most everything and have a good chance of gardening success.  If you want to vegetable garden, whether in traditional garden rows or in patio pots or the fun new fabric grow bags this is the time to plant your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.  There are many other veggies you can grow from seed including warm season crops like okra, cantaloupe, cucumber, pumpkins, black-eyed cow peas, summer squash, winter squash and watermelons.  The night temperatures look like they will now be 50 degrees or higher so you can plant sweet potatoes slips that will allow you to dig your own fresh sweet potatoes later this year.

Colorful annuals and perennials provide a lot of the spark or pizzazz for our yards and patios.  There are literally hundreds, even thousands of choices of the plants you can use to add color and excitement to your home.  You need to consider light levels like sun or shade, soil type and drainage as well as your watering habits to help select the right plants to fit each area of your yard.   You also need to think about the height the plants will grow, the size and shape of the plants and the colors of their flowers to get the right fit for your landscape.

Almost all plants do best when you have prepared the soil right with the addition of good organic matter like sphagnum peat, composted bark, cotton burrs or other humus to help provide a well drained home for your plant roots.  These composted materials also help hold and release moisture in the soil and tend to help acidify our alkaline soils.

Shade and part shade areas can be dressed up with plantings of impatiens, caladiums, begonias, salvia, coleus and many wonderful perennials.  The smorgasbord is full of great choices for sunny garden color in Oklahoma including lantana, petunias, crotons, plumbago, petunias, ornamental sweet potato, zinnia, marigolds, periwinkle, sun coleus, ornamental grasses and pentas.

This is also a good time to plant container grown shrubs and trees.  Many folks had a lot of tree damage last weekend and this may be a good time to replace those wind damaged Bradford Pears or other fast growing, soft wooded trees.  We are blessed to have lots of choices in the trees that will grow across our state but you really do need to think about whether you want a tree in twelve to twenty years that will grow to fifteen feet, twenty-five feet, thirty-five feet tall or even larger as you select the tree for your available space.  There are trees that provide shade, others that provide fall color, some that produce fruit or nuts, others for spring flowers.  Some trees will cover multiple uses in addition to their aesthetic impact and the amazing job they do in cleaning your air and providing cooling for your home and property.  Shrubs make a big impact around your home or other buildings as foundation plantings and as living fences or screens.

Decide what kind of landscaping or gardening you need or want to do this season and get busy planting to take advantage of the full 2017 gardening season.  Don’t forget Mothers Day is one week away and plants make a great gift to celebrate and honor the special women and mothers in your life.   May is the season to plant away!

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