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Monday, December 4, 2023

Later Winter Gardening

Now is the time to start spring and summer gardening. Planning gardens, perusing garden catalogs and websites, purchasing seeds, starting indoor seeds to have seedlings ready when it is time to plant gardens all happens now. For many of us who already have gardens, we know how our land drains and what soil amendments we need to use, what perennials are already planted and where and may even have some ideas about what annuals we want to plant. The vegetable gardeners among us may have tilled under last year’s garden bed and already supplemented the soil last fall to ready it for planting at the end of February. But what to add to the mele? That is the question.

Every winter when seed catalogs come out there are new and wonderful additions for our gardens. If you are a rose gardener, new species of roses are bred every year. New colors of blooms, richer, headier scented blooms, larger blooms and even bushes with more blooms are available every season. Check out some of the catalogs online for just roses – Spring Hill Nurseries, Jackson and Perkins, Chamblee Rose Nursery from Tyler, Texas, and High Country Roses from Broomfield, Colorado all have an amazing variety for your garden and cater to our hardiness zone 6b/7a. In fact, February and March are the prime months for planting rose bushes in our area.

While November is the best month for planting perennial bulbs that flower in the spring such as  daffodils, irises, hyacinth, tulips and crocuses, February and March are a great time to plant summer blooming dahlias, calla lilies, canna lilies, lilies, and gladiolus. Some lesser known summer-blooming perennial bulbs are the delicate purple and white Starflower, Montbretia with its heat-loving strappy green leaves and arching stems with small, vibrant red-orange blooms, and the vertical fuzzy, orange Foxtail Lily. Bulbs are a great base to colorful gardens that you can later supplement with annual seeds or starter plants for additional color and texture.

If you are a vegetable gardener, early February is the time to start seedlings inside. Tomatoes, peppers,  and eggplant are very susceptible to cold temperatures and do better started inside, hardened off and then transplanted to the garden when chances of cold weather are past. Additionally, plants that struggle in the extreme heat of Oklahoma can be started early inside and planted as soon as danger of frost is past to extend the period of harvest. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower all benefit from starting indoors about 6 weeks before planting outside.

Whatever you like to grow, now is the time to start planning, and start planting for a colorful, edible spring and summer.  Happy gardening.

Cathy Thomas
Cathy Thomas, born in New York, raised in Pennsylvania, educated in Arizona, having lived in Oregon, Florida and many places in between, now calls Oklahoma “home.” Currently a music and art teacher in a local school, Cathy is a third-generation puppeteer, historical interpreter, writer, painter, and candlestick maker and mom of a teenager. When the weather is warm, she can usually be found playing in the dirt along with her four dogs and five chickens and trying to grow flowers, vegetables and other plants.



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