Sunday, October 27, 2019 0 comments By: Ask A Master Gardener

Fall Planting of Bulbs and Pansies

Fall Planting
Brian Jervis: Ask A Master Gardener

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Q: Winter is so dreary for us gardeners. Any suggestions for something to lift my spirits? CH
A: You are right to some degree. After all the anticipation of spring: the planning, the planting, the waiting, and the fighting off the predators who seem determined to destroy our beauties, many gardeners find themselves with nothing left but memories this time of year. But here are a couple of things you can do to keep your gardener blood pumping through the coming winter.
If you have never planted pansies you are missing out on a true winter beauty. We are fortunate in Tulsa since we have a variety of local growers who produce pansies for our local market. If you are a fan of “local,” pansies can’t be beat. They are also available in a large variety of colors: even an orange and black if you are so inclined (Go Pokes!).
Pansies require no special planting instructions, just loosen the soil, sprinkle in some garden fertilizer and plant: usually about 4-6 inches. It won’t be long before they will start to fill in with beautiful flowers.
Watering is something that can be overlooked during the winter, but your pansies, will still need to be watered from time to time depending on the conditions. With proper care, your pansies should be beautiful throughout the winter and early spring.
One of the main challenges we can experience with pansies is that they tend to really come on strong about the time we need to begin pulling them out to prep our spring garden beds. But if you don’t, you will likely miss some opportunities in the spring when the new shipments of flowers start arriving in the nurseries.
Planting bulbs is something else you can do now, but you’ll have to wait till spring to see the results of your efforts. We plant bulbs in the fall because they need the winter “chill” period to prepare them for spring blooming.
Tulips, gladiolas, and daffodils are great choices and come in a variety of colors. Planting bulbs is pretty simple with the depth of the planting hole depending on the height of the bulb.
First, loosen the soil, then dig a hole about 3 times the height of the bulb. Place the large end of the bulb down in the hole; sprinkle with a little fertilizer, cover, and water in. After that you can pretty much forget about them. Just remember where you planted them so when you start planting your spring flowers, they won’t get disturbed.
Then, sometime in the spring (depending on what you planted) these green shoots will start coming out of the ground alerting you to what is coming.
After they have bloomed and the flowers have disappeared, leave the leaves alone until they turn brown since they will still be helping to store nutrients for the next season.
Nothing like a little winter color and the anticipation of spring flowers to help gardeners get through the winter.

Garden Tips
- Remove green fruit from tomato plants when frost threatens. If they are green but full sized, they will ripen indoors. They do not need to be in sunshine to ripen indoors.
- Use a cold frame device to plant spinach, lettuce and various other cool-season crops for production most of the winter.
- Take tropical water garden plants indoors when the water temperature reaches 50 degrees. Also, stop feeding fish in the pond at this water temperature.

Sunday, October 13, 2019 0 comments By: Ask A Master Gardener

Plant Garlic in Fall, Harvest in Early Summer

Plant Garlic Now

Tom Ingram: Ask a Master Gardener
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Q: I’ve heard that fall is a good time to plant garlic. Is that correct? — MC
A: We love our garlic. Garlic is a common seasoning worldwide and it’s not hard to understand why as the smell of garlic cooking makes almost any meal seem better.
Growing your own garlic is pretty simple. First, you need to select your bulbs. It’s good to start your search early so you can find the largest and firmest bulbs for planting. OSU recommends several varieties: German Red, Spanish Roja, Inchelium Red and Silver Skin.
Now is a good time to plant your garlic. The two most important elements that you will need to consider are sun and soil. An area that receives full sun is best. And the soil needs good drainage. Loose, loamy soil will give you good drainage and allow the bulbs to expand as they grow. Before planting you may want to work an organic nitrogen-rich fertilizer into the soil such as blood meal.
Garlic grows from the individual cloves that make up the garlic bulb. You will want to select the largest outside cloves for planting. If your soil is loose enough, you should be able to just push the clove into the soil, root — or flat — end down. Plant the cloves about two inches deep with the pointy tip up. You should allow 4–6 inches between cloves for good bulb growth.
Unlike many veggies that have specific space requirements, garlic takes up very little space. And it’s not a requirement that you have a veggie patch; garlic can be right at home in the flower garden. After planting, a healthy layer of mulch like straw, leaves or dry grass clippings will help maintain soil temperatures and control weeds.
The fall growing season will produce some small shoots but is primarily for root production. Bulbs will rest over the winter in preparation for a spring growth spurt. During this growth period, additional watering may be indicated if rainfall is not sufficient.
In late June or early July, leaves should start turning yellow brown, indicating it’s time to harvest. Gently dig bulbs from the ground. Bulbs will need to be cured in a dry, shaded area for 4–6 weeks. After drying, carefully remove the stalks leaving the outer skin intact. Carefully stored garlic can last up to several months and it will likely taste better since you grew it yourself!
Garden tips

• Plant container-grown trees and shrubs this month. Fall is generally the best time to plant. At this time the plants have no energy drain to produce leaves and can concentrate on growing a root system until the soil gets cool in winter. They are better prepared for spring growth if planted in the previous fall.
• Check and treat houseplants for insect pests before bringing inside. Look at the roots and repot those which are root-bound. Irrigate the soil thoroughly before bringing inside.

• There is still time to plant radishes and mustard in the fall garden.