Saturday, December 10, 2016 By: Ask A Master Gardener

Planning a Vegetable Garden

A Vegetable Garden Requires Planning

Brian Jervis: Ask a Master Gardener

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Q:I am thinking of planting a vegetable garden this spring. I am not sure how to get started, can you help? T.M., Sand Springs
A:Vegetable gardens are enjoyable and productive for most gardeners, but the key to success is in the planning. Planning for both the proper location, choices of vegetables and times to plant.
The OSU Tulsa Master Gardener’s web site has good information to help you. Go to the vegetable section and review OSU fact sheet, # 6004, “Oklahoma Garden Planning Guide”. This fact sheet has the how, when and where of starting a vegetable garden. Most all of the vegetables grown in Oklahoma are listed with dates as to when they should be planted, whether to use seeds or transplants and days to harvest. Other fact sheets in this section list the varieties of vegetables which grow best in our area.
Location is key. Most vegetables grow best in full sun although some of the cool season vegetables (cabbages, lettuce and others) will tolerate some shade. A north-south orientation of the rows will maximize sun exposure.
It is best to have a garden near you and near a source of water. The closer it is located, the more likely you will visit the garden and deal with problems early.
If you have good soil you are fortunate. When soils have too much sand or clay there are two ways to improve them. One is to till in large amounts of fully composted organic material. This will help sandy soils retain water and nutrients and aid heavy clays to more easily drain and to allow root penetration.
The other option for problematic soils is to plant in raised beds. With raised beds you should import good soil which bypasses the problem with native soils. Raised beds may simply be mounds of good soil without a containing structure, or better, construct a container out of wood, stone or other material.
A related option to raised beds is to plant in containers. It is surprising how productive a pot on the patio can be. Many vegetables grow well with this method. In addition, they may be moved about to deal with sun and shade.
It is best to perform a soil test at the start to decide what nutrients are needed when selecting fertilizers. Helpful information about how to fertilize vegetable gardens may be found on the Master Gardener web site.
Most all vegetables will also need mulching to conserve moisture, prevent weeds and help to moderate the soil temperature. Any mulch is OK, there is no “best” mulch.
Remember, all gardens will have some insect or disease issues in the course of the growing season. Regular inspection will identify problems early so they may be dealt with more easily. The OSU Master Gardeners can help with all of these problems by calling our helpline at 918-746-3701, M-F, 9am to 4pm; or come by the office at 4116 E. 16th street, gate # 6 into the Tulsa Fair Grounds.

Garden Tips
Firewood information may be found in OSU Fact Sheet NREM-9440. This fact sheet outlines which types of wood burn best and also describes how to obtain and measure wood. Tips on how to cut and split wood safely are also described.
One thing you should not do, when obtaining firewood, is to transport it any significant distance. Because of the high incidence of many types of invasive insects in firewood, such as the Emerald Ash Borer, many states ban all imported firewood. A good rule of thumb is to not go over 50 miles to obtain wood; 10 miles is even better.


Post a Comment