31 December 2009

Spring Gardens Start in the Winter

Experienced gardeners know that there is still time to plant spring flowering bulbs and garlic. A local garlic grower said that the best crops of garlic he gets are the ones he plants after Christmas.

Maybe your schedule is too busy this week to pot up garlic cloves or plunge tulip bulbs into the ground but you have time to do a little shopping.

This is the time to order potato seeds to plant around Valentine’s Day. Potatoes can be successfully planted in the ground, in soil filled coffee bags, under loose hay or in buckets. This is good news for those of us with shallow soil.

Seed potato sources -

Ronniger Potato Farm in Colorado, www.ronnigers.com, 877-204-8704, craig@ronnigers.com. Ronniger has organic, fingerlings, certified, low carbohydrate, early, mid and late potato varieties. Their catalog tells you which ones are best for storing, potato chips, mashed or fried.

Local stores will have seed potatoes for sale at planting time. Avoid old seeds with hairy, branched sprouts.

Potato seeds should be warmed to 45 or 50 degrees to encourage them to break dormancy. Cut the potatoes in to planting size and give them a week or two on sheets of newspaper or in a cardboard egg carton before planting.

The Gardening Guy of Tulsa says he plants pieces with 2 eyes, 12 inches apart in 8-inch deep holes. To each planting hole he adds one-half cup organic fertilizer, granite powder and dry kelp. Read his advice at http://bit.ly/6a5MJ3.

Another option is to dig a trench that you gradually fill and mound with soil. Keep weeds away with a mulch of newspaper or straw.

There is a Garden Web discussion on potato growing in OK at http://bit.ly/8nebMf.
and the ultimate work-free method is Ruth Stout’s video at http://bit.ly/7lJFK8.

Stout throws seeds on top of the ground and covers them with several inches of hay.

Fedco Co-op sells potatoes in a Moose Tubers online and print catalog 207-873-7333.

The chart at www.fedcoseeds.com/moose/varietychart.htm shows potato variety names, skin color, meat texture, scab resistance, etc.

Seeds to plant indoors in the winter - Viola, pansy and begonia seeds are planted in January.

In February, plant Feverfew, Lobelia, Impatiens, Petunia, Phlox, Poppies and Black Eyed Susan vines. Sow lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower indoors mid-Feb and tomato seeds late February.

A few of the hundreds of seed suppliers for home gardeners -

Botanical Interests, www.botanicalinterests.com, 720-880-7293 Lots of information on seeds packets, free seed starting booklet with every purchase.

Chiltern Seeds, www.chilternseeds.co.uk, unique vegetable and flower seeds.

Dixondale Farms, www.dixondalefarms.com, 877-367-1015, onions and leeks.

Garden Medicinals, www.gardenmedicinals.com, and 434-964-9113.

Harris Seeds, www.harrisseeds.com, 800-514-4441.

Horizon Herbs, www.horizonherbs.com, 541-846-6704. Medicinals and herbs.

J. L. Hudson, www.JLHudsonSeeds.net, no telephone. Seed bank with hard-to-find seeds.

Johnny’s Seeds, www.johnnyseeds.com or 207-437-4301. Flower, vegetable, cover crop seeds, organic, pelleted seeds.

Le Jardin du Gourmet, www.ArtisticGardens.com, 800-659-1446, seeds in small 35-cent packets.

Native American Seed, www.seedsource.com, 800-728-4043, Oklahoma grasses, wildflowers, quail and dove, butterfly.

Prairie Moon Nursery, www.prairiemoon.com, 507-452-1362, seeds for wetland, prairie, savanna and woodland.

Renee’s Garden, www.reneesgarden.com, 888-880-7228, clear planting instructions, heirloom and new varieties, multi-packs and combo packs.

Seed Savers, www.seedsavers.org or 563-382-5990, Coop with heirloom seeds.
Large quantities - Wholesale seed suppliers will sell to parks, churches, schools, organizations and individuals.

Hazzard’s Wholesale Seed, www.hazzardsgreenhouse.com or wholesaleseeds@hazzardsgreenhouse.com. Vegetables, walk on plants, herbs and ornamental grasses.

HPS Horticultural owns Totally Tomato, Vermont Bean, Roots & Rhizomes and many other familiar companies, www.hpsseed.com.

Ivy Garth Seeds sends out a large catalog with a photo CD. Sales@ivygarth.com, www.ivygarth.com, 800-351-4025

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, www.groworganic.com or 888-784-1722. Cover crop and bulk seeds.

Unique and new varieties are available only through Internet and mail order sources and the catalogs are rich with gardening tips.

4 comments:

Sally said...

Reading these past two posts makes me want to plan my garden already! Thanks for the info. I think you have a longer growing season than we do in MA, but it's good to think ahead.

Molly Day said...

Hi Sally!
In normal years we have about 200 growing days.
Climate change has definitely hit our area though so all bets are off.
I just can't resist starting seeds and messing with plants.
M

The Southern Charm said...

I just found your blog through Red Dirt Ramblings the other day, and love all the great advise you give your readers! From what I understand you live in Oklahoma... I live in Tuttle, OK! I have been reading a book called The Vegetable Gardeners BIBLE. I think it's a great book with tons of information, but the author gardens in zone 4. I'm new to this gardening thing so I was wanting to know when you plant your vegetable seeds that need to be planted inside... The book suggests 8 weeks, so would that mean four weeks for me being in zone 7?

Molly Day said...

Hi -
You would plant seeds inside 8 weeks before planting out. The 8 weeks is the length of time the seed needs to germinate and become a plant that's strong enough to be put into the ground.

What's different for you in zone 7 from the writer in zone 4 is the average date of last frost.

Zone 4's last frost is in May, Zone 7's last frost is in April.

I'm in Muskogee, zone 7 with April 15 last average frost date. So, I start seeds Feb 15.

In Feb, start seeds of cool weather plants like broccoli and spinach. They can take cool soil and a bit of late frost.

Hot weather plants like tomatoes and peppers do better if they are planted out when the soil really warms up.

Here's frost date info by zone -

Zone 2 -Last Frost: May 1-May 31
First Frost: August 1-August 31

Zone 3 -Last Frost: May 1-May 31
First Frost: Sept 1-September 30

Zone 4 -Last Frost: May 1-May 31
First Frost: Sept 1-September 30

Zone 5 -Last Frost: Mar 30-April 30
First Frost: September 30-Oct 31

Zone 6 - Last Frost: May 1-May 31
First Frost: Sept 30-October 31

Zone 7- Last Frost: March 30-Apr 30
First Frost: Sept 30-October 31

Zone 8- Last Frost: Feb 28-March 30
First Frost: October 31-November 30

Zone 9 - Last Frost: Jan 30-Feb 28
First Frost: Nov 30-December 31