Moesel: Gardening flourishes in central Oklahoma
Welcome, new gardeners!
We have seen the biggest influx of new gardeners this spring in many years. Many folks are tackling food gardening for the first time or with new vigor, so it has been challenging to find tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and many other transplants.
If you were not successful on your first effort, visit your local greenhouse or garden center again as many have been growing later crops to meet the growing demand, and you still have time to plant and get a nice crop.
This is the time to sow seeds or buy transplants for cantaloupe, cucumbers, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, okra, watermelon and Southern or black-eyed peas. This is also the time to plant sweet potato slips and the final crop of sweet corn. You can plant container-grown blackberries, raspberries and grapes, as well as fruit trees, to expand your home-grown food selection. For established fruit trees, the fruit is already formed and our peaches are already 2 to 3 inches in diameter and growing every day.
Food crops are popular this year, and we hope most will enjoy the experience and become regular gardeners for years to come. Flower gardening is even more popular as we all seem more anxious to beautify our yards and to create an oasis at our homes where we can escape the craziness and chaos of our modern world and find some comfort, joy, peace and solitude in our yards or on our patio, porch or deck.
This is a magical time of year in the garden when the pansies from fall are still spectacular before the summer heat, rose bushes are covered with gorgeous flowers of intense color and the peonies are in flower. The whole plant world is leafing out, sprouting new growth and many plants are blooming as they celebrate a new spring with warm days, cool nights and an occasional rain.
Many of the most popular plants have been in short supply with the extra demand so lots of gardeners have been trying new plants they may not have grown before. Hopefully folks will discover lots of new favorites from planting these new plants species or varieties.
If you have not gotten in on the gardening fun yet this year, you still have time to shop and plant and get your plants well established before our summer heat. Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials now for years of future gardening enjoyment. Plant annuals for extra color this season and to enjoy for the next six months until a killing freeze.
You may have a hard time finding a specific variety of plant, but there is no shortage of good plant options for any location, whether sunny or in the shade, in sandy soil or clay soil. Visit with your local grower or garden center to describe your conditions and they can help you select the right plants for your growing applications.
As it warms up we have to start watching for aphids and worms on our vegetables and bagworms on our needle evergreens. May is a good time to fertilize your trees, shrubs and lawn if not already fertilized this season. You can now sow Bermuda grass and other warm-season grass seeds.
Watch your soil moisture and water thoroughly if your plants, particularly new plantings, are getting dry or we go too long between rains. Mulching with bark or hulls will cut your watering needs by half and dramatically reduce weed pressure. Explore the great outdoors and enjoy time in your yard watching the wonders of nature as your garden grows.
Rodd Moesel serves as president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and was inducted into the Oklahoma Agriculture Hall of Fame. Email garden and landscape questions to email@example.com.