Northeast Oklahoma's growing conditions change every year. Normal average rainfall is 44-inches which makes many high country plants swoon from the humidity. Mexican sage, lavender , penstemons and many bulbs dislike high humidity and having their roots too wet.
The area's normal, average temperatures include 70-days a year at 90-degrees and above, plus 70-days a year at 32-degrees and below.
We are in USDA cold zone 7 and American Horticulture Society's heat zone 8.
These are the factoids we need to take into consideration when planning our gardens for spring, summer and fall. Read catalogs and plant descriptions and try to give plants the conditions they need to succeed. If the catalog says "good drainage" put the plant in a raised bed, on a slight slope, amend the soil with sand or perlite or plant near the thirsty roots of shrubs and trees.
Two resources to keep handy: 1) Tulsa Master Gardeners website and 2) Oklahoma State University Horticulture. Both of these sites have answers to questions you did not even know you had.
The ground is frozen and nothing can be done outside so these flower photos from last March will have to get us through until winter passes. Remember two years ago when there was not one day of freezing weather? The outside work never took a break that year.
Photos: Native violets on the left and Leucojum blooming on the right.
Hotbeds and Coldframes have been taking up some of my research time for the past 6-months. I'm not sure I need them now that the shed provides a protected place to raise seedlings under grow lights.
But, what about hardening them off in a coldframe for 3-weeks before planting out? Maybe that would increase their survival rate.
North Carolina State University has a fact sheet that explains the basics.
Home and Garden Television has some simple construction tips.
Do you have an outdoor cold frame or hotbed? If so, do you use it very much? How was it constructed? Any advice for those of us who are considering building one? How big for a starter coldframe? Is yours dug into the ground 8-inches deep as recommended by NCSU and HGTV?