Sunday, January 19, 2020 0 comments By: Ask A Master Gardener

Planning a New Vegetable Garden

Planning a New Vegetable Garden
Brian Jervis: Ask a Master Gardener
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Q: This year, I am going to plant my first vegetable garden. Any suggestions? EC
A: Congratulations for deciding to take the plunge into growing your own delicious veggies. Your question is more than we can cover in this article, but here are some tips to get you started.
First, you will need to decide what kind of garden you are going to plant, as there are a lot of options.
If you are planning on doing what we call an in-ground garden, your first job will be to clear an area. This typically involves getting a soil tiller to loosen up the soil and get you started on removing the existing grass (no small task). The next step would be to get a soil test (we have instructions on our website at
Without a soil test, you are really flying blind in knowing how to amend your soil. A soil test will tell you the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, as well as your soil pH. These are all important and will make a difference in how successful you are with your garden.
If you are not going to do an in-ground garden, you have a variety of options, the most popular being a raised bed or container garden. Because you are a beginner, we might suggest starting with a container garden. Almost any container can be used for this purpose. Just be sure there are holes in the bottom of your container to let the water drain or your plants will be sunk before you start.
Speaking of water, be sure to consider the proximity of a water source — the closer the better — because you are going to be spending a fair amount of time watering your plants to help them through our Oklahoma summers.
And, of course, you will have to decide what you are going to grow. We suggest growing what you are going to eat. If you only kind of like tomatoes, don’t plant a lot of tomatoes. This seems pretty obvious, but each year, some gardeners seem to be begging people to take some of their abundant tomato crop off their hands. Another vigorous producer is okra. It’s pretty easy to grow, and each plant produces an abundance of okra, so a couple of plants might be all you need for your home garden. You can find information on when to start your plants and which veggies do well in Oklahoma on our website.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? Well don’t be. Our Urban Gardener series of classes will be starting in a few weeks, and these classes can help you become a more successful gardener. The classes are from 6-8 p.m. Thursdays for six weeks starting March 5. Each evening, we will cover different topics, which include how plants grow, soil management, vegetable gardens, pollinator gardens, trees and shrubs.
You can sign up for these classes on our website. If you are interested, don’t delay because these classes typically sell out.
Good luck and happy gardening!
Garden tips
  • Even though there may be adequate moisture in the ground, it is normal for evergreen broad-leaved shrubs to appear “wilted” during extreme cold. This is rapidly reversible after the temperatures warm. This is a way some plants have in dealing with the cold.
  • Try to keep fallen leaves off newly seeded fescue. Fescue is capable of growing roots in winter unless the ground gets extremely cold. A good root system will help fescue to better tolerate the heat next summer. To grow roots, the grass needs sunlight.

Sunday, January 5, 2020 0 comments By: Ask A Master Gardener

Resolve to Grow A Better Garden This Year

Resolve to Grow A Better Garden This Year
Tom Ingram: Ask A Master Gardener
Sunday, January 5, 2020

First of all, Happy New Year. It’s a time of new beginnings, a chance to reflect upon the previous year and determine how we can do better this year.
It’s no different for gardeners. Last year, some of what we did worked, and some of what we did didn’t work. Our gardening successes were great fun, whether that was tending beautiful flowers or being the caretaker of delicious fruits and vegetables.
But gardening can be tough. Many things conspire against us, such as the heat, the cold, the rain, the lack of rain and the invasion of insects who think our garden was just for their nutritional enjoyment, etc.
But what about this year? What are we going to do differently? What are our gardening resolutions?
To find out the answer to that question, I polled the Tulsa Master Gardeners to see what their gardening resolutions were for 2020. Here is what they said (in no particular order):
 Do something in the garden every day so that the work doesn’t pile up.
 Don’t buy more plants until the last ones I bought are planted.
 Finally purchase the tools I have been needing.
 Clean and maintain my garden tools better.
 Keep a garden journal from year to year so that I can remember what worked and what didn’t.
 Do some stretches after being down on my knees for an extended time in the garden.
 Actually, have a plan for my garden rather than just buying all the pretty things.
 Try to stay ahead of the weeds.
 Actually, build in “garden time” into my day rather than just squeeze it in.
 Try some new plants rather than just do what I did last year.
 Divide some of my plants and share with friends so they, too, can have a jungle in their yard.
 Get a plan and stick with it.
 Lean more toward organic solutions.
So there you have it. You’re not alone. Surely, there is something, or maybe many things, on this list that resonate with your garden experience.
The Tulsa Master Gardeners not only feel your pain but also want to help you become a better gardener. Here’s some of the ways we can help:
 First of all, you’re reading one of those resources right now: the Ask a Master Gardener article in the Tulsa World. Stay tuned.
 You can also call our Diagnostic Center, drop by or email Master Gardeners from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at the OSU Extension.
 Visit our website at We have an extensive website with an abundance of resources in our Lawn and Garden Help section.
 Attend classes. We teach classes throughout the year, such as our Urban Gardener series, our Lunch & Learn classes at the Tulsa Central Library and our classes at the Mother Road Market.
 Watch the videos. We have a new Garden Talk video podcast with lots of current and timely garden information for you. You can find it on YouTube, Facebook and on our website.
So, here’s to 2020. The year we keep our garden resolutions!
 .Garden tips
  • Ornamental perennial grasses, such as pampas grass, may be cut back to 4-6 inches anytime in winter. However, because of winter attractiveness, most gardeners choose to wait until early spring to cut them back. All of the dead tops of these grasses should be removed by early spring, allowing sun to get to new growth.
  • Liriope or "monkey grass" — which is not a grass but in the lily family — stays green year-round; it also benefits from trimming to 2-3 inches before new growth begins in spring. Liriope and all ornamental grasses will benefit from nitrogen fertilizer in spring when pruned.
  • Prune fruit trees in January, February and March. OSU has a good fact sheet on pruning fruit trees, "Annual Pruning of Fruit Trees."