April To-Do List
The cold winds are dying down and it's great time to get back out in the garden and do some of the less glamorous tasks while it's still nice outside! So when May hits everything is ready for color installs and all the other fun stuff we look forward to!
Sow Annual and Herb Seeds
Now is the time to get your summer herb and annuals started. Celosia, Moon Flower, Sun Flowers, Zinnias, and Basil, Cilantro(Coriander), and Parsley. Just follow the directions on packets.
If you have older seed and don't know if they are viable, here's a way to check.
1. Moisten a paper towel and lay out flat.
2. Place 5, or so, seeds on the towel with some space between and fold up so the seeds are wrapped up tightly. Place towel package in a zip top bag.
3. Place the bag in warm, but not sunny spot. Leave alone for the number of days to germination listed on the packet or on this chart.
4. Once that time is up, open the bag and package and inspect the seeds. If most of the are plumped or even sprouting, the seeds are safe to plant. If only a couple are sprouting after a couple weeks, don't expect much out of those seeds.
Plant Fruit and Vegetable Plants
So this year has been odd, it's been warm(one day over 90!), and as I right this, at least, one more night in the 40's. The soil temps have been in the 60's: 2 inch temps, 4 inch temps. So it *should* be safe to plant most veggies. Just remember, two years ago we had a frost on May 5th! In any event, by the end of the week we will be bringing in the more cold sensitive plants. There are just a few more days to think about your gardens.
Apples, Pears, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Chiles, Cucumbers, Melons, Herbs, etc
Yes, it's super exciting, but it pays off. Just a couple hours on a Saturday morning will continue to pay dividends all season! The trick is a scuffle or colinear hoe. These are sharp and the blade is oriented parallel to the ground. Just slide or "scuffle" the hoe around the bed and the weeds are cut off at the ground. Yes, some do come back! If you have a decent hoe(over $25), the task will be easy to do once a week. After a while, the weeds will burn through their energy stores and die. If you never till your bed(NEVER TILL YOUR SOIL), you won't activate dormant seed in the soil and you won't have weeds! Follow this advice, and weeding will only end up on your to-do list twice a year!
Fertilize or Compost Your Plants
This is the easy one. Add a does of good slow release fertilizer like Color Star, Nutra Star, or Espoma to all of your potted plants. All their nutrients were used up last year or leached out of the pot over the Winter. Feed them now, when new growth starts, they're hungry!
Add a good couple inches of compost to your garden beds. It is denser, and will block light to seeds and retain moisture better than any wood waste mulch. It also leaches into your soil adding nutrients and organic matter, and helps to break down the clay.
Finally, go explore the local botanical gardens and garden centers. There is always something to look at and get ideas from.
Myriad Gardens 301 W Reno
Will Rogers Park 3400 NW 36th
The OKC Zoo 2101 NE 50th St
The Botanic Garden at OSU 3300 W. 6th, Stillwater
Time to plant...
--By Kathy Plant
March is a great time to plant leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, mustard, kohlrabi, and lettuce. Beets, carrots and sweet peas also can be sown now.
I love fresh asparagus and it’s so easy to grow. It’s not difficult to plant a patch that returns year after year with minimal maintenance, and a big garden isn’t necessary; they fit nicely into the back of a sunny border or corner of the yard. After harvesting spears for a month or two, I let the tops grow. They are tall, beautiful, fern-like and last all summer.
It’s still just a little early for most flowers, although there are several that are frost hardy, like pansies, dianthus, Dusty Miller, snapdragons and petunias. I like to plant up a couple of containers that can be moved into the garage on those frosty nights.
Time to Harvest...
I planted several different leafy greens last fall and have been harvesting those delicious, vitamin-packed leaves again for several weeks. Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage, among others, can over-winter here in central Oklahoma. They start growing again as the days get longer. Once the large heads of broccoli are harvested, the plant continues to produce smaller side shoots, which, along with the tender young leaves are delicious in stir-fries.
Longer day length and warmer temperatures can make the cool weather crops bolt, causing bitterness or textural changes. Planting transplants can give us a head start on harvesting these healthy, flavorful vegetables.
Come by Plant Wisdom to see our selection of vegetable seeds and transplants, flowers, and shrubs. We would love to help you plan your garden this year!
So you bought tree, now what? Dig a hole, put tree in hole, fill up hole...right? Yeah, pretty much. However, there are some trees that are not properly suited to your soil and climatic conditions. That is what this article is about the planting of tree to ensure survival of an investment of both time and money.
First of all, lets assume the tree is near where you would like to plant it. Is this a good spot? Look at the tag and hopefully you asked some good questions at the nursery. You did ask good questions at the nursery, didn't you? The biggest consideration is sunlight tolerance. Is the site sunny, shady or somewhere in between? This something to ask your nurseryman, usually the tags are written in climates different than we have in Central Oklahoma and can be wrong, so ask. Second is tree size. Usually the tags are spot on here, but sometimes Oklahoma clay and wind can stunt growth. Are there structures in the way? If so, do you mind regular pruning? What about driveway or sidewalks that the trunk or roots could damage? Does the tree fruit? You may not want it near you car. Maybe fall litter will clog your gutters. Things to think about. The last major consideration is water. Is the area higher and dry or low and wet? Is it an area you can get water to easily? There are other things to think about but these are the major points. Now that you have thought about them it is time to go pick a tree, go ahead, I'll wait...
Kathy and Alex have combined experience of over 25 years, and offer their expertise here.