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Get Ready For Gardening!


Get Ready for Gardening!

By Paul James
Ice. Snow. Sub-zero temperatures. Cold rains. We’ve had a lot of wintry weather lately. But then it is winter, after all. So why in the world am I writing about getting ready for gardening? Because by the middle of next month (depending, as always, on the weather) it’ll be time to plant all sorts of things, so get ready!

For example, bare-root roses will be arriving the second week of February. A huge Iseli Nursery order will arrive later in the month full of cool conifers and colorful Japanese maples. Asparagus, onions, shallots, potatoes, and rhubarb will show up toward the end of the month. And those are just a few of the items that are on the way.

And if it’s too cold to plant, then take time to plan, whether it’s for a new perennial or pollinator garden, an expanded veggie and herb garden, or maybe the addition of new trees and shrubs.
You also can (and should) amend your soil in preparation for the new growing season with any number of great bagged products to provide nutrients and essential organic matter to get your new plants off to a solid start. 

Finally, if you just can’t wait to get your hands dirty, consider starting flowers, vegetables, and herbs from seed indoors.

Happy gardening, y’all.
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Peas can be planted when soil temps are as low as 40 degrees, which will likely happen next week.
Starting from Seed
Starting plants from seed is one of the most gratifying ways to engage in gardening. There’s just something magical about plopping a seed in soil and watching it grow. And it’s a great way to introduce kids to the world of gardening. But you needn’t take my word for it. Read Master Gardener Tom Ingram’s excellent take on the subject, which he covered in detail in his Tulsa World column earlier this week.
If you plan on growing tomato plants from seed, sow them roughly six weeks before the average last frost date, meaning right about now.
Seed Starting Supplies
Another great thing about starting garden plants from seed is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment…or money. And we’ve got just what you need to get going, from biodegradable coir pots (which you can plant directly in the ground when your plants are ready) to seed-starting trays (with or without humidity domes), to heat mats (which hasten germination), and the best seed-starting mixes to get your plants off to a great start.
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Shop Potting Mixes
And of Course, Seeds!
Flowers, vegetables, herbs -- we’ve got seeds galore for those of you who can’t wait to get started growing your own transplants indoors. And our selection includes seeds for native plants and wildflowers, as well as organic seeds.  
Shop Seeds
In 1970, while receiving an honorary degree from Princeton, swarms of cicadas buzzing the stage inspired Bob Dylan to write the song “Day of the Locusts.” (Sorry, Bob, but cicadas are not locusts.)
Clean Those Pots
Insects and pathogens can overwinter in pots, and accumulated mineral salts are not only unsightly but potentially damaging to plants. That’s why it’s a good idea to clean and disinfect your pots each year. First clean the pots with warm, soapy water and rinse well. Then use undiluted rubbing alcohol or a 10% solution of bleach and water to disinfect pots, and a wire brush, steel wool, or scouring pad to remove mineral deposits.
And Those Tools
With a wire bush, remove soil from metal tools and coat the surfaces with a light oil such as 3 in 1 or WD-40. Rub wooden handles with boiled linseed oil. And while you’re at it, sharpen the business end of your tools with a file or other tool sharpener.
Cicadas are Coming!
Thomas Jefferson was president the last time two specific broods of periodical cicadas emerged at the same time (in 1803), but it’s going to happen again this year. Brood XIX, the 13-year cicada, will appear in Oklahoma sometime in Mid-May. Brood XIII, the 17-year cicada, will arrive a few weeks later, but probably not in the Sooner State, although annual cicadas will be joining their periodical Brood XIX relatives, so plan on seeing -- and hearing -- more of them than usual.

Two states -- Illinois and Indiana -- may see both broods emerge, which is cause for concern to those who have outdoor wedding plans!
Winter Watering
This time of year I often remind you of the importance of winter watering, the lack of which is responsible for the demise of numerous landscape plants, especially conifers and evergreens. But thankfully this year is different thanks to recent (and decent) rainfall. So, no worries.
Tip Of The Week

Seeds grown indoors need all the light you can give them, whether from a bright windowsill or, better yet, artificial light.

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