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Laughlin: Some garden tasks to be on top of in February

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February is a great time to start planning for the coming month in your outdoor spaces. There are also several garden tasks to be on top of this month to help your garden, lawn and landscape perform better this year.

If you have never done soil sampling, now is the perfect time. Soil testing provides a starting place for soil improvement for the home garden, lawn or landscape.

Unless you know what is already in your soil, you are only guessing when you apply fertilizer, and making correct fertilizer applications will protect our groundwater. Soil testing can help you find out why lawns or plants are not growing well.

We will give you recommendations to correct any soil problems you may have. To collect a sample, collect soil from 12-15 different places at a depth of 6 inches from the lawn, garden or beds you wish to test. Mix these samples together in a clean bucket or pail and collect 2 cups from the mixture to bring to the Extension Center.

If you take samples from more than one area, be sure to label them. We will send the sample to the Soil Testing Laboratory at Oklahoma State University and then analyze the results for you. You will get your results in two weeks. The cost for each sample is $10.

February is a great time to start pruning or finish pruning shade trees, summer flowering shrubs and hedges. Spring blooming shrubs such as forsythia, quince and azaleas must be pruned immediately after flowering, so wait on those. Also wait to prune roses until early March.

This is also a great time to fertilize trees and shrubs, including fruit and nut trees.

In the vegetable garden, you can prepare beds for early season sowing of cool-season vegetables like carrots, lettuce, spinach, radishes and peas. These early sowings can begin in mid-February. Many cool-season vegetables like cabbage, onions and potatoes can be planted later in the month, as well.

If you enjoy vegetable gardening or would like to start growing some of your own food, the OSU fact sheet HLA 6004 “Oklahoma Garden Planning” is an excellent reference. It includes planting times, spacing and all the information you need to succeed in our climate. This fact sheet can be found at osufacts.okstate.edu.

Spring workshop

The Oklahoma County Extension Service is offering a half day workshop to help you get prepared for springtime in the garden. The “Step into Spring” workshop will be Feb. 15 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Oklahoma County Extension Center at 2500 NE 63.

This workshop will cover early spring planting, pruning, lawn care, landscape water needs, vegetable garden prep, and other timely topics for your garden and landscaping needs. In addition, the Oklahoma County Cooperative Extension registered dietitian will demonstrate how to prepare healthy seasonal recipes, provide a food tasting, and offer a seasonal recipe collection.

Registration fee is $5. For more information, call 713-1125 or go to oces.okstate.edu/oklahoma.

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