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Swing with spring: Veggies, flowers, shrubs or trees — it's time to plant away in central Oklahoma

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Julia Hornbeck checks petunias at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. She works in the greenhouse and is a decorative pots designer. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN]
Julia Hornbeck checks petunias at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. She works in the greenhouse and is a decorative pots designer. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN]

Spring is in full swing and we are able to plant most everything as night temperatures are now consistently above 50 F.

You can plant most any of the warm-season vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, okra and eggplant, as well as summer squash, cantaloupe and watermelons.

Plant away on summer color annuals from geraniums, penta, lantana, petunias, impatiens and begonias to the hot-blooded periwinkle, sweet potatoes and caladiums.

It's also a great time to plant container-grown shrubs, ornamental trees, fruit trees, roses, vines and berries.

We have been blessed with some intermittent rains, beautiful days, pleasant nights and great times for planting and gardening. These are the best of times to landscape your yard, add new flowerbeds and add color to your landscape — or start or expand your vegetable garden.

We can plant most plants throughout the entire growing season, but this is nearly the best time for most everything.

Most of the growing season is still ahead of us. Moderate temperatures will give most plants time to get established before the extreme drying heat of summer. We are getting natural rainfall, which will reduce your time spent doing supplemental watering while the plants are getting established.

This is a good time to fertilize your trees, shrubs, lawn, vegetables and flowers if you have not already fed them this growing season. You can use a liquid or water-soluble food as you water, or a granular food you spread across the surface and water in. There also are slow-release or timed-release fertilizers that will release slowly and feed for two, four, six or nine months depending on the fertilizer design and coating.

It's always good to take a soil test before feeding so you only feed what you need. If you have not tested your soil at your local Oklahoma State University county extension office, then apply a general or all-purpose fertilizer like 20-10-20, 20-20-20, or 21-7-14 — percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — where the three digits equal more than 30 when added together.

Hot, dry weather will come and weeds will come, so you can save a lot of problems later in the growing season by mulching your new plantings. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of bark mulch, cottonseed, cocoa hulls, pine straw or compost on top of the soil around your plantings. This natural mulch will dramatically reduce weed seed germination and the weeding you will need to do. Surface mulch also will reduce extra watering by up to 50 percent as it will slow down surface evaporation, wind drying the soil, and it will moderate soil temperatures.

Feeding, mulching and proper watering are important tools to improve your plant health and to help you achieve gardening success. But the most important thing for gardening success is getting started. It is hard to succeed if you don’t prepare the soil, select the plants and get them planted.

You probably won’t succeed with everything you plant because life happens. You will lose some to varmints, insects or diseases, or from not watering or too much water. But you can’t succeed if you don’t take a chance and make time to plant.

Visit a local nurseryman or garden center to pick out the right seeds, bulbs or plants for your flowerbeds and start planting. Work in your yard to get fresh air, a physical workout, time to think and meditate, all while feeding your stomach and your soil and beautifying your home. Plant away and enjoy your time in the great outdoors.

Rodd Moesel serves as president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and was inducted into the Oklahoma Agriculture Hall of Fame. Email garden and landscape questions to rmoesel@americanplant.com .

Related Photos
<strong>David and Shelly Pirkle, of Oklahoma City, look for flowers and plants to add to their front yard flower beds at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN]</strong>

David and Shelly Pirkle, of Oklahoma City, look for flowers and plants to add to their front yard flower beds at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a0e2d6259695e88322eb49e9fd438e16.jpg" alt="Photo - David and Shelly Pirkle, of Oklahoma City, look for flowers and plants to add to their front yard flower beds at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" David and Shelly Pirkle, of Oklahoma City, look for flowers and plants to add to their front yard flower beds at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> David and Shelly Pirkle, of Oklahoma City, look for flowers and plants to add to their front yard flower beds at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c05825af0a83d675844f8cb9bf43f32f.jpg" alt="Photo - Calendula, an annual, is available at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Calendula, an annual, is available at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Calendula, an annual, is available at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c707147880d814d8f77cd80f96bd2d9e.jpg" alt="Photo - Petunias in hanging baskets at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Petunias in hanging baskets at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Petunias in hanging baskets at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1ae34359da65f1a74db5ab55b848a3ba.jpg" alt="Photo - A mix of colorful bedding plants at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" A mix of colorful bedding plants at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> A mix of colorful bedding plants at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-86f9626b6203506b5abfb61ce19be72f.jpg" alt="Photo - Sun patiens (an impatiens hybrid) at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Sun patiens (an impatiens hybrid) at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Sun patiens (an impatiens hybrid) at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ca5a09f11eee9ee0baccfeaed4cb3101.jpg" alt="Photo - Julia Hornbeck checks petunias at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. She works in the greenhouse and is a decorative pots designer. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Julia Hornbeck checks petunias at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. She works in the greenhouse and is a decorative pots designer. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Julia Hornbeck checks petunias at Marcum's Nursery, 2121 SW 119. She works in the greenhouse and is a decorative pots designer. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure>
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