13 August 2009

Keep the Gardens Going

Don't miss out on the third season of gardening in Oklahoma or other areas in zone 7 and above.

Even though the August heat is still with us, we can plant cool season vegetables, perennials and spring flowering bulbs.

If you don't know your plant zone click on the appropriate link -
United States zones or worldwide plant zones or the AHS heat zone map.

Hazzard's Greenhouse and Seeds lists thousands of varieties of flowers, vegetables, herbs, grasses, and walk-on-plant seeds in their online catalog. You can click on the Search feature and enter a common or Latin name to find what you need.

Joyce Hazzard created a free shipping coupon for anyone reading this. Enter MSFS in the place for coupons at checkout or use the code for phone orders at 989.872.5057.

Start seeds in containers so you can control moisture and temperature. This is especially true for heat sensitive greens. Refrigerate lettuce seeds for a few days and then soak them in water the day before planting.

Flower seeds that like to be hot for a few weeks followed by cold include pansy, alyssum, calendula, corydalis, bachelor buttons, love-in-a-mist, Joe Pye, Datura and many others. Most perennials and many biennials are planted in the fall.

Nasturtiums and Zinnias grow from seed to flowers in 35 days. Also plant seeds of these flowers with 45 days to bloom: Bachelor buttons, Cosmos, Marigold and Hyacinth Bean Vine.

Flowers with 50 to 60 days to bloom include: Verbena, Impatiens, Alyssum, Morning Glory and African daisy. The old Thompson and Morgan seed germination database is available at
Tom Clothier's site where you can look for germination temperatures, weeks, etc.

Plains Coreopsis and Dahlia need 60 days. Flowering cabbage and flowering kale take 11 weeks.

If you want to speed up the process, you can pre-germinate the seeds in moist paper towel or vermiculite. Keep them warm until they sprout and form roots, then plant them in pots until they are ready to plant in the ground.

Garlic and shallots should be ordered now to plant in September. Farmer’s markets have locally grown varieties that are sure to work well.

Look up the number of days from seed to harvest for your favorite vegetables and select those with 70 days or less to maturity.

For example, bush beans mature in 50 days, so seeds started now will have table ready beans by the middle of September. Burpee’s Tenderpod bush bean was the 1941 All America Selection and is still one of the highest rated (http://bit.ly/lbiDU).

Another AAS selection, Buttercrunch lettuce is ready in 65 days and can take the cold (http://bit.ly/zS6eY). Green onion, chive and arugula seeds can still be sprinkled into the garden and harvested before winter. Arugula is good for pesto, late fall salads and on sandwiches.

And put in cool season Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbages. At the Tulsa Master Gardener's site (http://bit.ly/4wgJu9), Sue Gray advises, "But keep the B.t. handy. Bacillus thuringiensis dust or liquid is the smart way to keep cabbage looper and diamondback moth caterpillars off your plants." Bt is sold as Biobit, Dipel, MVP, Steward, and Thuricide.

In August and September these seeds are planted: Kale, chard, mizuna, mache, Asian greens and asparagus. Gray says to watch for flea beetles and cucumber beetles in the fall. As soon as the plants come up, cover them with a floating row cover fabric to keep the bugs off the leaves and prevent them from laying eggs in the soil. Check under the fabric daily.

OSU Fact Sheet HLA 6009 has several ideas for fall vegetable growing at http://bit.ly/oqSdx.

Between August 10 and 20, plant bush beans, lima beans, cucumbers, beets, Chinese cabbage, head cabbage, collards, and green peas. After you harvest the peas, dig under the leaves and vines before the first freeze.

Oklahoma’s best varieties are listed in OSU Fact Sheet HLA 6032 at http://bit.ly/sgCnR.

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