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February 2019, Week 2, Planting Time Is So Close....And, Yet, So Far

Okiedawn OK Zone 7
February 10, 2019

Welcome to the second week of the shortest month. I'm grateful February is a short month because the cold, gray, gloomy weather gets old quick. I'd say that I am looking forward to March, and I am, but we have to slog our way through the rest of this month first.

It is almost time to start planting a few things in the ground. For that, may we all be grateful. Per the OSU recommended planting times, we can plant many cool season crops in the ground beginning February 15th, which is almost here. Temper your excitement and expectations by checking your forecasts first, though, because the cold weather isn't done with us yet. Remember, too, that the recommended planting time is a period, February 15 - March 10, so there's an extended range of time and only the most southeastern parts of the state probably are safe to start planting on February 15. We can be busy now starting seeds indoors though, as many seedlings need 6-8 weeks to grow indoors before they can be hardened off and successfully transplanted outdoors into the ground.

Now is prime planting time for bare root fruit (trees, brambles, bushes, etc.), bare root roses and bare-root asparagus or strawberry plans. If you want to grow rhubarb or horseradish from crowns or roots, now is the best time to find those in stores. It is seed potato time if you haven't bought your seed potatoes yet. I have mine in storage in the mud room and probably will chit them soon. I'm trying to go slow and not rush them into the ground as the persistent heavy rainfall we have had here since late September has left the ground, even in the raised beds, heavily saturated. I'm starting to wonder when it ever will dry out enough to plant.

Indoors I have started seeds of brassicas and greens. Some of those are going to be ready to go into the ground in another 7-10 days. I've also started the seeds of tomatoes and peppers, but these seedlings are very small and won't be ready to go into the ground for a few more weeks yet, which is fine, because the weather will not be in the right range for several more weeks at the earliest. I guess it is about time to start snap pea seeds indoors. They always perform best for me if germinated indoors and then transplanted into the ground while very young/very small. This is because they can be very slow to germinate in cool soils but grow fine in those same cool soils. Down here, as with many other crops, the peas need to go into the ground pretty early in order to be productive before the sort of heat arrives that shuts them down.

This week I'll be starting some flower and herb seeds indoors. I have to be careful and not start more than I'll have space for on the light shelf because soon I'll be potting up tomato plants from their starter flat to individual cups and they'll take up a lot of shelf space once I do that. Most of this year's tomato varieties sprouted within 24-48 hours of being sown and are growing very quickly, so potting up will need to be done sooner rather than later. I don't feel ready to start that, but some of them have two true leaves already so it is almost time. I really need a second light shelf if the weather isn't going to turn more cooperative soon, or I need to put a heater in the greenhouse so I can move stuff out to it.

Other than seed-starting, and maybe some minor clean up that remains to be done in the front garden on this week's handful of nice weather days (maybe 2 at most?), I don't have big plans for anything. The cold continues to cycle back around every few days, so it still feels like planting time will be late and there's no need to get into a big hurry with anything. Our local stores' garden centers are full of cool-season transplants, but I don't really see anybody buying any yet because it still remains pretty cold. If anyone here had bought and put those sorts of plants into the ground last week, they likely would have frozen on the two nights our low temperatures dropped into the teens since these new plants likely had just come from a greenhouse and were not very well conditioned to cold weather. Even down here where we warm up pretty early most years, we still are dropping into the teens a couple of nights a week, or at best, the very low 20s.

So, what's up with everyone? Who's got seeds started? Who's getting ready to start some seeds? Is anybody planting things in the ground yet? I feel like we're all lining up at the starting line, waiting for Mother Nature to fire the starter pistol and tell us it is time to "Go!".


Comments (60)

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Bon, I like Spring as much as the next person and count down the days like everyone else, but our plants don't care whether it is Spring or not---they will grow well when, and only when, the soil temperatures and air temperatures are in the right range for them, and who in the world can have any idea when that will be. All we can know for sure is that we've watched the cold weather cycle back around to us every week or two over the last couple of months, so that seems to be the recurring weather pattern we have to deal with this year. I am planning to plant everything, at least in terms of the early plantings of cool-season plants, later than usual because of this. The weather roller coaster will continue its wild ups and down here again this week---we begin a warm-up today that will last through Thursday, and then the next cold spell cools us back down again....Thursday night here after a gloriously warm day. Then we'll be cold for a while.

    We need to remember, too, that planting dates and average last freeze dates all are just based on averages, so even when our average last freeze date arrives, we have a 50% chance of having a killing freeze or frost after that date. This feels to me like a year to not necessarily trust the averages. Everything in my head is screaming to slow down, wait and not get into any hurry, so I am trying to do that. If the voices in my head, or my gardening instincts, relax and start saying it is okay to go full-steam ahead, I'll say so. Until then, I remain watchful of the weather and very cautious.

    Y'all, here's the 6-10 day temperature outlook for next week. The darker the shade of blue, the higher the chances of being below average temperature-wise. It looks bad for us, but much worse for a lot of the country. The 8-14 day outlook doesn't look any better and might look worse. I remember looking at it last night and thinking that my gardening instincts are right on target so far. I guess I ought to go look at the 1-month and 3-month outlooks to see what they say. I've avoided them because if they're showing a long lingering period of persistent cold weather, I do not even want to know it.

    CPC's 6-10 Day Temperature Outlook

    I am lol-ing at that image of the cat paw, Bon. I have kept our cats indoors throughout this cold, wet weekend and they are about to lose their minds over it, so I'll let them go back out into today's warmer weather and will hope their sanity returns. Well, I'll let them out when and if the drizzle finally stops.

    Rebecca, Your sister's dogs are so adorable. I hope you enjoyed your weekend with your family down there in Texas.

    Jennifer, Jacob was on a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't seen him here since. It sounded like he was gearing up for planting time though.

    I'm glad you're making progress on your room. Redecorating is a lot of fun but also a lot of work and expense and I'm glad we finally have our house mostly the way we want it. There's still a couple of rooms where I'd like to do a few more things, but I can live with it the way it is now.

    Kim, I'm glad there is a plan in place now.

    So, you're going to live in Valley View and drive up to Ardmore to work on remodeling the two houses? There's tons of houses available there to buy, fix up and either flip or rent out. Ardmore is an interesting blend of old and new and my favorite neighborhood is the one just south and southwest of Central Park, where the north-south streets are named A, B, C, D, etc. and the addresses end in SW, like 1009 A Street SW (a made-up address), for example. That neighborhood has many old restored or remodeled homes from the 1920s and 1930s that have such style and character that it warms my heart. Not all the homes have been redone yet, so a person still can find a jewel in the rough there now and turn it into a real beauty. The other older neighborhoods seem to be lagging farther behind the SW one in terms of the number of homes being restored, remodeled or renovated, but then, those homes that haven't been touched in decades will be bought and fixed up by somebody sooner or later.

    Jen, Oh well, what's done is done. Hopefully the weather cooperates with you and the plants won't outgrow the space available indoors too quickly. You never know. The weather pattern seems dismal now, in terms of how the cold keeps cycling around every week or so, but at some point we will warm up and more or less stay warmed up. Maybe. Eventually.

    It has rained here all night, so I guess I won't be able to work outdoors today. It isn't heavy rain, really just a steady light drizzle all night, but considering our soil moisture level (via the Fractional Water Index) is sitting at 1.0, which means the soil is completely saturated, there's just nowhere for any more rain to be absorbed,so it all just ponds and puddles on the surface. I guess I'll work on stuff indoors today and hope the rain moves on out of here before our pets lose their minds.

    Maybe I'll pot up seedlings or something. Or start more seeds.


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Bah humbug to that 6-10 day outlook! I told the people I bought live plants from to ship the last week of Feb. Good Grief!

    My dad has a minor surgery here in Tulsa Tues with followup later in the week, because, you know, they can't do surgeries in Bartlesville and must make people drive to Broken Arrow for healthcare >:( anyway, won't have a lot of free time this week.

    The dogs have been getting out again. I'm thinking electric fence. Maybe I could use it to keep her out of the garden, too. And away from chickens when we get more.

    I was going to move my light shelves this year, the seedlings didn't get enough attention last year. But I think the shelves are going to have to stay there for now. I want a green house or cold frame for hardening off. DH and I are back and forth on that one. The mind is willing, but the body is weak.

    Will the sun EVER come out?

  • luvncannin

    Dawn my brother bought 2 houses in need of repair which is what he does on the side. He is building up few rental properties so he can retire with extra income.

    The place in valley view he wanted to tteteatear down and build a quadplex. Well his wife finally talked him out if that and it is being started today for me aplce to live. We already discussed rent etc. I pray I can get a transfer to the denton store. Its It's coming together. Now to figure out which seeds to start.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Due to some comments on the pea thread, I'm going to put this info here. George has a forum called Green Country Seed Savers. It is in taptalk format and I can't figure out how to link to it. You can google it. You should read it just because it is good information from, mostly, Okies. You will find the discussions of the African X okra there. It is another good place to keep in touch with Okie gardeners.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Amy, Honestly, doesn't this feel like the most frustrating February since we were underneath a lot of snow in the winter of 2010-2011?

    I hope that your dad's surgery and recovery go well. I hear you on the need to drive elsewhere for surgery of any kind---it is the same here.

    Electric fencing can be a lifesaver. We had two dogs in Fort Worth. One would dig underneath the wooden privacy fence (his name was Butch) and escape. The other one, whose name was Lady, would run into the house through the dog door and stand and bark at us to rat him out. Then she'd run back outside and go under the fence herself to show us where he got out. She was such a tattletale! Anyhow, a single strand of electric fencing down low to the ground (low enough that he couldn't dig under it, so maybe it was about 6-8" above grade level) was all it took. After Butch got zapped once, he never ever escaped again and we left the fence turned off after that. He didn't know it was turned off, so he became very anxious whenever I was gardening near the electric fence---grabbing my arm or sleeve and trying to pull me away from the electric fence, bless his heart. You could tell he had learned the electric fencing lesson quickly and never forgot it.

    When it comes to everything on our To Do list, the mind is willing and the body is weak. If I'd known how much aging would have slowed us down after we'd been here a couple of decades, I would have worked harder to get outdoors projects on the perpetual To Do list completed long, long ago. It is what it is and I think a lot of that list never will be completed now. Between bodies that tire more easily and grandchildren who need to play, there's never enough time any more to work on projects.

    Kim, Ardmore is a great place for investment properties. I've seen tons of them for sale on Zillow since our son and his girlfriend started hunting for a house there.

    I'm glad your brother's wife talked him out of tearing down the house in Valley View and glad you'll be able to live there. I hope you'll be able to transfer to the store in Denton too. It is near the college so probably has a readily available labor pool, but I would think the store would prefer a trained, experienced, knowledgeable and reliable person like you to a college kid who might have trouble scheduling work around classes, labs and such.

    Amy, Will it not just link? I've never tried to link it here, but hasn't he linked it here before?

    George's Green Country Seed Savers Group Is Here....Unless it Isn't

    Okay, it appears to be linked. I don't know if it will stay or if someone will delete it, but it is a great resource for OK gardeners, as is his homesteading.edu website.

    I know we'll always find a way to stay in touch even after GW is gone, because honestly I don't see how it lasts much longer, especially when it performs so poorly and we constantly lose posts after typing and typing and typing them. So many members have abandoned it for social media platforms, it seems, and I can understand the frustrations that have driven them to do so.


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    So it's Proboards. I have an app called Taptalk, which Proboards defaults to for me and I couldn't figure out how to link it from the app.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Doesn't take long to get far behind on these threads, does it! We were doing some volunteer stuff this morning, and I spent the afternoon getting going on seed starts. I had been stratifying 5 different things; I tried alternating temps with all five. And though I only started them 2 weeks ago, all five had sprouted. THAT was exciting. The sad thing was that when I planted them all in the damp paper towel/plastic baggie method, I thought I had coffee filters from last year. Of course could not find them so had to use the paper towels. And so had a dickens of a time getting them from paper towel to pots. Guess what--found the coffee filters today after moving all the little sprouts as best I could.

    My biggest surprise on the stratification was the sedum variety pack. That was delightful.

    I did NOT start any tomatoes or peppers today. But as soon as my new little 3 oz cups come, I will. I started the stratified stuff, several other flowers. And forgot to start the one thing I intended to--greens! I'll either get them tonight or tomorrow.

    Amy, GDW was sitting in his recliner 3-4 days ago, and asked me when it was going to be warm enough so he could get out of his chair. I looked at the weather online and told him, "March, hopefully." And while I'm normally happy with regular rain, NOT at the moment. My Dixondale onions just got here.

    Jennifer, the furniture is BEAUTIFUL! I love them both. That "pink" is gorgeous!

    Thanks for the link, Dawn. I had forgotten it! Laughed at you potting stuff up. I am somewhat proud of myself that I've put off starting seeds til now. But plan to work steadily at it from now on. Tiny is all about seed starting, so I'm going to have to clean up every time I get some stuff planted. What a pain. But funny. But a pain.

    I have so many flower seeds this year that can be direct-sown, and I'm happy about that.

    Kim, will look forward to hearing about your adventures, and hope you can get on at the store nearer where you'll be.

  • hazelinok

    Hey All.

    Honesty, I haven't been frustrated too much this February or January...or even impatient. I get tingles of being excited about the garden, but for some reason, waaaay back in November (or before), I knew that we would have a weird February, so planned accordingly (in my mind). And that has worked for me because I've gotten other things done. HOWEVER, I do miss my garden and my coop is gross. I need a warm, sunny, dry winter day to clean it. Also, I feel bad for all my friends who are SO ready to get going already. It won't be long. Hang in there.

    Oh yes, the February 2011 snow. I remember it well. We had just picked up Kane 2 months prior. He hurt his leg in that deep snow. I wasn't gardening at the time, so no frustration there.

    Y'all's talk over at the flower thread. You have NO idea how impressed I am. I don't EVEN know what y'all are talking about but look forward to learning in a year or two. So many flowers!

    Thanks, Nancy. I like it too. It's coming together. The new bedding is on. The new mirror is hung, as well as some pictures and such. The rest of the house is a mess though. So dirty.

    I want to choose a couple of pretty trees--one for the front yard and one for the backyard. Need to get that done soon. I kill trees. How do you plant them? Do you just dig a hole and plop it in and then water well? Or do you have some sort of trick. Also, we are planning to go to the elderberry farm and get a couple of plants in the next month or so. Y'all, I just don't know how to plant these things. People plant trees all the time, but I have the worst luck. I'm surprised my columnar trees have lived. I think we might have added some special tree soil for them. I can't remember though. Tree planting advice PLEASE.

    I love Monday. Everyone is happy and relaxed on Monday at my house. It's because I'm home and relaxed and that sets the tone for the day.

  • jlhart76

    I know evergreen trees you have better luck when you plant it the same direction (north side facing north). Unless you dug it up yourself, though, I don't know how you'd figure that out.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Amy, I have a hard time linking anything from my phone and don't even use Houzz on my phone any more because it frustrated me so much, but I had no problem Googling the seed savers group, finding it and linking it from my laptop.

    Nancy, I am laughing about the coffee filters because it is the kind of thing that I always do. I've really tried to gather all my seed-starting stuff together and keep it stored together in the garden shed so that, when I need it, it all is there, largely because there's been too many years when one thing was here and another thing was there and something else was someplace else.....and it just never pays to have stuff scattered because then I have trouble gathering it all together.

    I feel so unsettled about planting that I keep postponing ordering my Dixondale Farms onions. Yep, that's right. I haven't even ordered them yet. I keep saying I will, and then I won't push that button and submit the order. I haven't wanted to order them and have them arrive and then have the clock ticking on needing to get them in the ground. The. incredibly. wet. ground. I think I could go ahead and order them today, maybe because you easily can hold them 3 weeks before planting, and surely I'll be able to plant within the next 3 weeks. Normally mid-February is the time to plant onions down here in a normal year, but we're just too wet, and I don't like the way they keep popping a chance of cold rain/sleet/snow in our forecast. Currently that's in our Monday night/Tuesday morning forecast, though our local TV met says the odds are fairly slim. In past years I have had some onions rot, even in raised beds, in cold wet soil (though not in the last 5 or 6 years), so I'd rather plant them later than usual than lose some of them to the excess moisture. I've known all year that I wouldn't be able to plant onions at the usual time, so it just has been a matter of how late I want to push out planting time, and so far, I just keep pushing it out further. Usually I'd be chitting my potatoes by now and I'm not doing that either yet. This doesn't seem like the year to plant anything as early as I normally do.

    Jennifer, Trusting those garden instincts is smart. Every year is different here and somehow my brain and/or psyche have developed the ability to know when it is or isn't going to be a typical planting year. I think when you trust those instincts, they don't steer you wrong. Perhaps this is just the mark of an experienced gardener---being able to let your intuition guide you instead of looking at a calendar and just saying "it's time". It still doesn't feel like it is time, and I'm okay with that. Planting cool-season crops early almost never pays off for me as I'm in a cold microclimate and get surprisingly cold at night even when days are warm....because warm air rises and leaves my low-lying garden cold and shivering.

    I just hope this is not one of those springs that stays cold, cold, cold and then, when the cold breaks, we're instantly hot, hot, hot. That's the worst possible weather combination. One reason that 2002 was such an awesome weather year for gardening was that spring stayed really, really cool very deeply into Spring---we still were in the 40s at night in May. One reason I remember this so well is that Tim's dad flew down for Chris' high school graduation and stayed a couple of weeks, hoping to enjoy the heat and warmth, only we didn't have any heat and warmth to enjoy in May. It still was really cold. I remember that the hollyhocks, larkspur, nasturtiums and poppies lasted forever that year because there wasn't any heat bothering them, and it was the same with cool-season crops, which kept producing well into June before we warmed up and the heat began shutting them down. That seems like a thousand years ago. We probably haven't had such a really pleasant, cool, prolonged spring (cool but without a lot of freezing nights) since then.

    Trees? First, avoid choosing pretty ones because often the pretty ones are short-lived and die about the time they start to reach a decent size. Instead, choose strong, sturdy types known to be long-lived in our climate and soils. Then, when you plant, dig a good sized hole and do not backfill it with anything other than native soil. Those roots have to grow for the rest of their lives in native soil so it does them no favors to add soil-less mix to the planting hole like some people do. Be sure you do not plant too deeply---planting the root flare below grade level is one reason that trees die. The root flare should be at/above grade level, not below it. If you plant a bare-root tree, removed the burlap and all wire wrapped around it so the roots are not trapped within it. I prefer to plant container grown trees. Start small in terms of tree size. Research shows that when you plant a big tall tree that has a tiny root system enclosed within a relatively small container, those trees struggle because the below-ground root system isn't strong enough to adequately support the above-ground top growth. We went way overboard to avoid doing this, digging all our native oak trees (we chose Shumard red oaks and a couple of bur oaks) from the woodland and transplanting them to the yard so that they had 12-18" of below-ground root system and 12" of above-ground top growth at the most. Those little trees looked ridiculously small when we planted them, and Tim kept mowing over them (so I caged them with tomato cages to stop that nonsense), but they have grown very well. Now, those tiny trees tower over our 2-story house, roughly 15-18 years after we planted them and they are remarkably healthy. I believe this is because they always had a large enough root system to support the tree's top growth, and even though oaks are relatively slow-growing trees (pretty much all fast-growing trees are fast-dying trees), they grew surprisingly quickly and most were taller than the house in only about 10 years, which is really good considering how short they were when we planted them. Of course, with a purchased tree, you cannot start that small unless you are buying bundles of tiny trees from the Oklahoma Forestry Service to plant for conservation or as a windbreak.

    There are many pretty trees that also are good, slow-growing long-lived trees, but just be sure that prettiness is not your top priority. We have redbuds, for example, all over our woodland including along its southern edge near the house and I love looking at them when they are bloom, but I'd never, ever, ever plant one in the yard because of their issues with anthracnose and because they are short-lived. They tend to not look very good in summer or fall.....always have foliage issues and look like garbage so are not worthy of a premier spot in a yard. We mostly have planted oaks in the yard, along with a vitex agnus-castus, hollies, wax myrtles, crape myrtles and a native persimmon tree. I'd like to add a Chinese Pistache for its autumn color, and plan to do that this year. Avoid Bradford and all other ornamental pear trees like the plague---they are pretty, fast-growing, fast-dying and reseed abundantly and are horrifically invasive, now invading many acres of native Oklahoma grassland and woodland. Many people choose trees that have pretty blooms in spring, but remember that blooms only last a couple of weeks, and a tree's pretty bark and foliage lasts for a much longer time frame.

    Here's some handy info on selecting trees for Oklahoma:

    City of Norman Recommended Trees

    How To Select and Plant A Tree

    Be sure you do not overwater and never water to the point that the soil around the tree is heavily saturated. You only want the soil moist, not sopping wet. This is especially important if you have clay soil. Young trees will need consistent watering the first couple of years until they become established, especially in times of drought. We probably watered our trees once a month during the growing season when they were young.

    I hope your Monday was wonderful. I try to stay relaxed and stress-free as much as possible on a daily basis because the way a person feels truly does set the tone for the household. It helps that I am home all day and can deal with household issues as they pop up so that Tim comes home to a happy house. Well, unless there's a plumbing problem. I am not a plumber, so if there's an issue like that at the house, I just turn off the water, if necessary, and leave that for him to deal with. And, then there's planting season, which is when all my stress resides in the garden. I try to keep that from infiltrating the house....although...on one of those spring nights when it appears we are unexpectedly going to be very cold and I must stop watching the news/weather on TV and suddenly run out to cover up plants, if Tim arrives home and I'm out late in the garden frantically covering rows with row covers, he senses my stress before he even reaches the house and comes down to the garden to make sure I have any help I need and am not having a meltdown. Fortunately those sorts of weather surprises are pretty rare considering we live in Oklahoma with its highly changeable and often unpredictable weather.

    It rained all day yesterday, but just was a slow, drippy drizzle. Still, we have huge puddles everywhere again and it definitely is mud boot wearing weather again. I hope that the sun will make some sort of appearance today. The brassicas and greens I'm hardening off cannot become hardened off to sunshine if the sun stays hidden behind the clouds. Today we have wind. I think it was the worst (gusts to 40 mph) as the cold front moved through overnight, but we are expected to remain windy for the next three days. Our only really pretty day, with lower wind speeds and highs in the 70s, this week will be Thursday, then we return to more average temperatures and a chance of freezing precip early next week. I linked the 6-10 day temperature outlook yesterday, so I'll link the 8-14 day outlook today.

    8-14 Day Experimental Temperature Outlook

    It doesn't look so great for planting yet, does it?


  • madabttomatoes

    I've been off here for a bit and am glad to be back. It's been a bit crazy in my world but I'm adjusting to my current normal. Retired and mom-sitting during the weekdays.

    Peas - I usually direct sow the day I notice my peonies eyes.

    Onions - Dixondale sent mine a week early and the beds were ready, so in they went. They're on the S side of the house in raised beds and have weathered the cold nicely.

    Tomatoes and such - I usually start seeds the last week of Feb.

    it it will make me sad if Houzz drops GW. I do some social media but am not a fan.

  • dbarron

    I have all this seed I ordered this year, but little to no desire to plant it. In the just past arctic blast, even snow melt arctic plants took some damage :(

    I don't want to start seed and have seedlings inside and leggy because I can't plant them because the frost won't stop.

  • hazelinok

    Thanks for all the tree info, Dawn. I do want a couple of pretty-ish trees in the front and back yards. I've thought of the Chinese Pistache for the front yard. And for the backyard...maybe one of those giant bushes that you can prune to look like a tree--a Rose of Sharon, Crape Myrtle...or there's another one that is at the Norman Master Gardener's garden. Can't think of the name of it right now. The backyard one needs to stay small.

    We did dig up a couple of small oaks and replant them in the field. I think one had survived though the winter. It lost it's few leaves, of course. However, it stayed SO wet this fall, so we will see. Pretty sure I planted it too deep. I wonder if I can dig it up (if it survived the winter) and replant.....

    My sister is like you. She says the same thing...they have to grow in native soil so don't add stuff. She has the best luck with trees. It's probably not luck. She's just a natural. She would like to be a gypsy and sell flowers out of a wagon. Our great, great grandma practically did that. Only she wasn't a gypsy.

    Also, I laughed about your tattletale dog, Lady. That is one thing we haven't tried--electric fences. That may be our next thing. I just haven't wanted to invest (more) time and money into something that might not work. I can see these two knuckleheads going right through an electric fence.

    Amy, let us know how that works for you if you go that route.

    I haven't ordered my onions yet either!

    Glad yours are doing well, Madabttomatoes.

    dbarron, I haven't started any seed yet either. I do want to start the lettuce and salad greens this weekend, though. IF I can get the light shelf moved and set up.

    I need to work now.

  • dbarron

    Hazel, Chinese pistache trees are classified as invasive. Unless you accquire a male clone, please don't plant them. Stay with natives where possible. If you're looking for fall color, consider a bigtooth or caddo maple perhaps?

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    HJ. . . will these trees be in sunlight? I would so love to have a Vitex. I think they're so beautiful. Alas, cannot think of any place that's sunny enough. Wondering if it's the one you were thinking of.

    I bought hardy begonia grandis and Santa Cruz Sunset begonia--2 years ago! Groan. I was chicken to try and grow them so didn't try. Same last year. I'm not even sure they're viable and if they are, still may not be able to grow them! But they SURE aren't gonna grow if I don't at least plant them. What freaked me out was the germination in 14-60 days. Excuse ME? lol And the grandis. . . . finally got a package of seeds that are absolutely the tiniest I've bought yet.

    Dixondale assures me the onions will be just fine for 3 weeks of not being planted, so that's probably the route I'll be taking.

    No Dawn, it did not look great for planting. Bah humbug.

    We had about the same weather you did yesterday--though we did end up with 3/4" rain. But I am thankful it doesn't stay wet here like it does there. I think.

    It hasn't been freezing cold today, and I've been out half a dozen times with a sweatshirt on, but no jacket.

    And because I DID find the coffee filters, now I'm going to stratify a bunch more stuff. LOL Just because. More echininacea, verbena. Ran out of the other stuff. Need to order some more, I guess. YEAH!

  • dbarron

    Given a suitable place B grandis does well for me and even spreads. It's a lot easier to grow from bulbils if anyone has one though. Begonia seed are dust.

    As to B boliviensis (santa cruz), they are tricky with regards to heat tolerance and sometimes overwintering (inside as dormant bulb). However, if you are successful, they do improve with age.

  • luvncannin

    Any tips on how to get over shingles :/

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    I don't know that you can get "over" them. Doc can prescribe antiviral meds. and there are natural ways to relieve the pain. And though I haven't had them yet, I know from friends that they recur.

  • Eileen Sim

    Kim, have you seen a doctor for the shingles? FIL had shingles for about a month or two last year. Took us a while to convince him to go to the doctor, and it took another 3-6 weeks after that for the shingles to go away. So far, it hasn't recurred.

  • hazelinok

    I guess I'll find myself a male clone, dbarron. (it feels so weird to type that)

    The vitex might be the tree I was thinking of, Nancy. Is it also called a chaste tree?

    Most things on my property get plenty of sun. Only the front flower beds up against the house are in the shade mostly.

    Kim, SO sorry if you have shingles. Ugh! Not good. Not fun.

    I am very tired tonight for no good reason. I didn't work exceptionally hard today. I did have a band booster meeting. Only three more band booster meetings for me. I'm not sure how to feel. It already feels different. I think I've checked out a bit.

    Ooo! I did walk in the garden today and pulled a few weeds. The soil is at that perfect place where weeding is ideal. Not dry. Not too wet. I would LOVE to take Wednesday and Thursday off to weed the garden. I can't, though. Maybe we'll have some warm days on spring break, but that's over a month away. whine whine.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    yes, hj. chaste tree=vitex!!!

  • slowpoke_gardener

    My garden is too wet for anything. I have henbit everywhere and plan on using the weed burner on it to see if it will kill it, may only kill the blooms and seeds. I went out to pull the henbit off the compost pile, the north side was still frozen.

    I bought 6 lettuce plants that I plan to put in the north garden. I will start seeds for more soon.

    I have called around for bulk zinnia seeds. The Mena Farmers Co-op said that they hope to have some soon for around $20.00 per pound, the best price I have found elsewhere is about $32.00 a pound.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Madabttomatoes, Welcome back! It sounds like you've made a major life change with retirement and mom-sitting. I hope you're enjoying both.

    dbarron, I need to start more seeds but have been dragging my heels on doing so because of the weather. I am potting up some seedings now so need to finish potting up first so I can see how much space remains on the light shelf indoors. I may have to set up a second light shelf for the taller plants as they grow, or put a heater in the greenhouse and move them out there. At this point, I'm leaning more towards using the greenhouse earlier than usual because the house is about to get too crowded for me to have space for a second light shelf.

    Jennifer, There is an electric fence that will keep dogs in. With big dogs, you may need several strands so they cannot go over it or under it. We only had to have one strand because our dog was digging underneath a wood privacy fence and all we had to do was keep him from digging under. Just be sure you get the kind of electric fence made for dogs. The ones made for livestock would be much stronger I would think. Believe me, if an electric fence, properly installed, will stop horses and cows (and they do), then the same is true for dogs. If you need to control your chickens' access to certain areas or if you need to confine them within an area, there even is special electrified poultry netting for them though their wings have to be clipped to keep them from flying over it.

    Nancy, My chaste tree grows and blooms fine even though it has partial shade from two nearby oak trees. In a climate as harsh as ours, some shade for so-called full sun plants really can be helpful and tolerated quite well.

    Kim, Doctors can prescribe antiviral meds, or natural/functional medical type folks can recommend a lot of supplements that generally will help with viral stuff (but there's no guarantees). I had a relatively mild shingle outbreak one time about 10 or 12 years ago and it was in a fairly small area and was gone within a week or two. I didn't do anything special for the shingles....just toughed it out. I feel like my immune system probably responded to the shingles well after they broke out, though it didn't protect me from the outbreak to begin with. My shingles never have recurred. Now, if your shingles are near your eyes, that is a whole different situation and would warrant a quick trip to the doctor to protect your vision. I hope you recover from your shingles as speedily as I did.

    Jennifer, Sometimes bodies just are tired even if we don't know why. I know it must seem odd to be attending the very last, few band booster meetings. There will be plenty more 'last' milestones the next few months, and then new ones as college begins. Of course, you've already been down this road with Mason, and look how well she is doing in her adult life. It must seem a bit more bittersweet with Ethan since he is your last little chick. Well, except for your actual chicks.

    Today's weather seems so much nicer than that on previous days, but the wind still makes it feel cold out there, and fire danger is really cranking up today, especially the further west and northwest you go.

    I noticed another wildflower blooming in the pasture today, so the native plants aren't holding back despite the cold. Let's see how happy they are (or aren't) next Monday and Tuesday when winter weather comes roaring back yet again. My mid-season daffodils started blooming today. For this area, the early season ones would be blooming now but not the mid-season ones yet. I blame their early appearance on those 80 degree days last week.

    Our son and his girlfriend are buying a house. They will be moving in with us before the end of February so that they can vacate their current rental by the end of the month. They won't close on their new home for a couple more weeks after that at the earliest (we're all guessing, because the closing date hasn't been set yet) and then they want to paint the interior before they move in. So, we happily will shift the dogs around to make room for 4 more people and 7 tropical birds for a few weeks. I kinda miss seeing the birds (lol, I see the people all the time, but not the birds) so it will be fun to have them around for a while. One of the birds always has been hypersensitive and tends to pluck out her own fathers due to anxiety. Well, she simply adores Jana and has really taken up with her, and it has changed this little bird's life. Her feathers have grown back in, she seems to be controlling her own anxiety naturally and is a happier bird. I'm looking forward to seeing this change in her behavior because it sounds like she is so much happier now. Our two younger dogs will be displaced from their favorite room in the house, Tim's office, so the birds can reside in there. This means the two younger dogs will be sleeping upstairs in our bedroom, but other than that, their lives won't change too much. They'll probably spend a bit more time outdoors, but they always do that as the weather warms up so even that is not so unusual. We'll move out the two recliners that the dogs love in order to make room for the bird cages, and I'm hoping that once we get those old chairs out of the house, they never come back in. I'd really like to replace them with newer chairs but Tim has been resistant to that idea. We'll see.

    I might get behind on garden chores since the grandchildren will be here full time for a few weeks, but I'm okay with that. The weather isn't being very cooperative anyway. I'll probably be cooking a bit more than usual, but really, with everyone working different schedules, I think the house won't be as full as it sounds except at night when everyone finally is home from work and school.


  • jlhart76

    Having littles around is always fun. Exhausting, but fun! As much as they love visiting, I bet they're thrilled to be having an extended slumber party.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Wow, Dawn, that will be quite a change for you! You're such good sports--I hope it's lots of fun.

    You are SUCH an enabler! I guess you know I'll have to try a Vitex now, don't you. I know just where I'll put it. :)

    Kim, I'm thinking maybe GDW and I should get shingles vaccination. I do hope you find something that will help you get better fast.

    Larry--in bulk--so you're growing zinnias for all of us, then? $20.00 for a pound sounds like a great bargain.

    Yes, dbarron--begonia seeds look like dust. . . very fine dust, at that.

    Garry got a job. LOL We went to see about volunteering for some church friends who have a kind of school on Mondays for town kids (since the town kids don't have school on Mondays.) It began as a reading program for kids who are behind in reading skills, and has grown by leaps and bounds. So now it's all day and now they have all kinds of other plans for it to become a kind of community recreation place, full-time. The buildings they bought need a lot of work. . . so GDW went to his new job today to put insulation and ceiling tiles in one of the hallways.

    I told him I was going to follow him into town because I had to get a turkey baster to water seeds. Last year the other one died. Well, we got to town and decided we'd first have breakfast, so did. Then we got to the store and he asked what was on the list I'd started at home--eyeglasses cleaning pads and peanut butter. So we picked those up, and cat and dog food. And after I got back home, realized I'd forgotten the turkey baster. And forgot to leave the cell phone with Garry so couldn't call him. I do believe I just had a conversation around this sort of thing with Amy and Eileen. . . Anyway since I'm all alone decided I'd go BACK to town and get my turkey baster. Takes 44 minutes round-trip to town. I hate that. I hate it worse if I have to turn right around and go back. :)

    On the up side, when I got back the second time, I had seeds from Johnny's waiting for me.

  • Patti Johnston

    Dawn, our daughter, husband and six children moved in with us after their home burnt. They escaped out a bedroom window in their nightclothes. Their insurance paid for rent for about a year and then they all came home. We had them for 18 months and then our SIL got accepted to med school (at 39) in Des Moines Iowa. We got to keep the oldest two - they were going to college where I worked. Our house isn't big - 2250 square foot or so, but we had every inch full. We sealed up our double car garage and were able to heat it (we have free gas) so that was their study room. We all made it - still talking to each other and miss them like crazy. SIL has finished 4 years of med school and is in his first year of residency. So enjoy them, take pictures, and have a good time,

    Uugh. Shingles. I've had them twice and they are not fun. We tried to get the shot last fall but instead got put on a waiting list at Walgreens. I need to check on that next time I'm in Edmond. I've told God that he can give them to me for the third time if he will spare my husband. I shudder to think how awful that would be.

    Wow Larry! That's a lot of zinnias. Are you growing them to sell at a Farmers Market?

    Yesterday after my Master Gardener meeting, our group toured the Guthrie Greenhouses there in Guthrie. The original greenhouse was established in 1897 and they have part of a brick wall and some foundations remaining. In their "South Ranch" they have 15 acres and their "North Ranch" has 10. All together they have 55 greenhouses. They sell over 5 million plant in the spring and another 1 million in the fall. Their plants are sold under the Red Dirt label. She said they sell to TLC, Atwoods, ACE hardware, and others. It was really amazing to see the tiny, tiney, plants that will grow up to be bedding plants in just a few weeks. We had a great time.

    Sure wish this wind would lay down.


  • slowpoke_gardener

    Nancy, Patti, A pound of zinnia seeds is a lot of seed. The man at the Mena Co-op says he will normally order bulk and break it into smaller packs to place on the shelf. I spent most of $20.00 last summer and got .no more than 2 OZ, of seeds at TSC.

    I have found in my old age that seeds are much cheaper than labor. I read on a forum, maybe this one, some years ago about a guy just mowing a strip across his lawn and throwing cowpeas along that strip. He would mow along each side as the peas grew and harvest when ready, then mow the peas down when harvest was complete. I have been doing some of that each year ( my wife makes me hide mine tho ), but since I have been working on the 8 acres across the hwy., which I call my wildlife area, I can plant my trash over there. The wildlife area has been a great joy for me. I can plant a lot of grain, flowers and forage and let it look a little trashy and the wildlife still love it. Also it is a large enough area that I can use a tractor with almost no walking.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Larry, One pound would be an astounding amount of zinnia seeds.

    Jen, I'm looking forward to the fun part, and a little worried about the exhausted part. (grin) I am sure it all will work out well. During the time they will be with us, they're going to be so busy packing up everything from the rental and, as soon as they close on the house, painting and getting it ready so I sort of expect our lives with go sort of topsy-turvy for a few weeks, and I'm okay with that. It might be a little harder than usual for me to get the planting done, but that's okay since this seems like it is going to be a late planting season anyhow---either the persistently wet soil will delay planting or the persistently cold weather will, so maybe it will be good to have a houseful of people keeping me otherwise occupied. The four year old always thinks every minute spent here is a slumber party so she'll be delighted. The nine year old will have a longer commute to school for a few weeks, so she likely will have to get up earlier than usual, which may mean an earlier bedtime for her.

    Nancy, That turkey baster thing is exactly the sort of thing that drives me crazy about living so far out from town---any trip to any store for any thing is going to take 40 minutes minimum. There is no such thing as a convenience store out here. lol. Nothing is convenient. It is one of the reasons I buy so much in bulk at CostCo and Sam's Club. Things are better now than they used to be because we have a Home Depot in Gainesville and a Lowe's in Ardmore. For our first few years here, if you needed to go to either one of those stores, it was going to be a minimum of 80 miles round-trip and you knew you'd better remember everything on your list because no one was going to make that drive twice in one day. I make lists and then, often, leave the house without them, but generally just the making of the list helps me remember what I need even if I leave the list at home.

    So, your schools cut back to 4 days a week? How difficult that must be for parents who work, so I am glad your community has stepped up and created an alternative program for Mondays. That is just awesome.

    Patti, Your adventure in extended family living was a lot larger and longer than mine will be. Thanks for the great advice---I do intend to enjoy every minute of it and to take lots of photos. It isn't often we're all together because usually somebody is at work at any given time. Chris and Jana do their best to work on opposite days so the girls always have someone at home but since he works 24 hour shifts (firefighter/paramedic) and she works 12 hour shifts at the hospital, it does take some maneuvering to make sure there's someone to watch the girls on the days when their shifts overlap. Her grandparents help them out a lot with that in Ardmore, and we try to keep the girls when it happens on weekends. Somehow it all works out, but it really does take a village to raise kids nowadays with so many working parents and all that.

    I bet your SIL will be so glad to get all his residency type stuff behind him so he can do the work he is training to do. I cannot even imagine starting medical school at the age of 39---what a challenge that must have been!

    I love Red Dirt plants and always look for them at Atwoods. I bet touring the greenhouses was fun.

    The wind was horrible yesterday and it still is blowing this morning. I hope we aren't getting the strong March winds in mid-February while we still have all this cold weather, but it sort of feels like we are. Today's temperatures are going to be so nice here. I don't know about the rest of y'all, but we're supposed to hit between 75-77 degrees for our high temperature this afternoon, and then that next cold front rolls in and I think our high temperature tomorrow will be back to normal---so 25-30 degrees lower than today's will be. It seems like the big winter roller coaster ride continues. The presence of even slim chances of wintery precip (in northern OK tomorrow, and for the rest of us next week) is just a reminder that Mother Nature isn't going easy on us this winter.

    Larry, I bet the deer do love the wildlife area, and plenty of other wild things undoubtedly do too.

    I am counting on this wind and today's heat to hopefully dry up the ground some. Usually I walk in the gravel driveway to stay out of the mud as much as possible. Of course, this means dodging all the big puddles in the driveway itself. Yesterday I stepped off the driveway near my garden and walked in the grass and......I was disgusted to hear the squishy sound with every step I took. A yard should not sound squishy when you walk across it. So, we clearly are nowhere near drying up. In the garden, where the pathways have several inches of wood mulch on them, I can walk okay in between the raised beds, but I really cannot dig yet, not even in the raised beds. It is driving me crazy. I did notice yesterday that our soil moisture reading on the mesonet dropped from 100% to 99% so we are making some progress.

    The blue eyed grass is blooming in the pasture. It seems too early, but there it is so who I am to say it shouldn't be blooming yet. At least the bees will be happy because that's one more little bit of something in bloom for them.

    I want to work out in the garden today, but this wind needs to calm down some and I'm not convinced it will. I have potted up all the seedlings that needed to be potted up, so there's not really any sort of gardening task I can do indoors today. (sigh) If I stay inside to avoid the worst of the wind, I guess I could clean house but y'all know that I'd rather be out in the garden.

    And, in one of our funniest conversations we've had in a while, I was talking to Chris yesterday and reminded him that today is Valentine's Day and he needs to remember to get something for his sweetie. There was a brief pause and then he retorted "I just bought her a house!! Isn't that enough?" I laughed so hard.


  • jlhart76

    He's got a point, you know.

    Our anniversary is tomorrow so we're celebrating by having a houseful of puppies. Our 4, one regular comes tomorrow night until Sun, another comes Sat, and my brother's girlfriend asked if we would mind keeping her 2 weenie dogs while she runs to Texas for a grand daughter's school event and another granddaughter's birthday. So I'll stop tomorrow and vet some half priced chocolate for him. Yes, I'm cheap lol.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Jen, I guess he does have a point. The way he said it just made me laugh, but he was joking. He bought her a lovely and very sentimental anniversary gift last week and is taking her to dinner tonight. I think he is a keeper, and she seems to agree. Seeing them so happy together just warms my heart.

    Y'all will have so much fun. I love having a houseful of dogs or cats (but not necessarily both at the same time). We're down to only 3 dogs from a high at one time of 8 (that was too many dogs, and some of them slept in the garage, not the house, unless the weather was unbearably hot or cold). While I miss having a lot of dogs I think that 3 is a good number for us at this stage of our lives. Living out here in the country, there's always dumped/abandoned/strayed dogs and cats looking for homes, so I am sure that at some point we'll have more dogs again. Most everyone around us has far more dogs and cats than they need or want, but they don't have the heart to turn away an animal needing a home, especially since our county does not have an actual animal shelter. I always just figure that if God wants us to have more dogs or cats, he'll have them show up here....and they always seem to do just that.

    As for being thrifty, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that---it is very practical! To be able to get good candy for half off on the day after Valentine's Day is such a sweet deal, pun intended.

    It got hot here today. We hit 77 degrees but now have dropped to 74. I hate that the cold weather is returning tomorrow. Some fruit trees are blooming here now. Oh well, it is February in Oklahoma, and that's what happens here following every unseasonably warm bit of weather that we get.


  • bon

    Bilssful 64 today! I can tell that I've mostly sat on my butt the last two years.

    Got an old bed weeded and roots cleared (dang popular trees!).
    Readied a pot for carrots.
    Started more seeds.
    Seedlings got a couple hours of sunshine.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    And a gorgeous 68 here. Although I was outside a lot, it was really just to get out on the deck and to visit with the cats, who were loving it. Garry was back at the school finishing with the insulation and ceiling tiles. So I went into full housecleaning mode. Vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, laundry, cleaning in the art room; the pantry; the garage. I did get a couple more totes filled with container soil. I'm throwing most of the fabric ones out. And watered seeds. . . the greens are up and some of the things I'd stratified are. Too tired now. . . . zzzzzz

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Although it has seemed like we were seeing El Nino conditions all autumn and winter, an El Nino never was declared because the atmospheric response to the higher Sea Surface Temperatures in the El Nino region just didn't happen. Something has changed. Today a weak El Nino was declared and an El Nino Advisory was issued. They expect this El Nino to persist throughout the spring 2019 months.

    I'm not sure what this means for us, to be honest, because it still is a very weak El Nino. Thus, I think our soil moisture levels might not necessarily get much worse, though they also might not improve. NOAA gives the newly-declared El Nino a 55% chance of persisting through springtime.

    I'm just hoping we don't get a lot more moisture that will interfere in planting time. El Nino or not, we need to be able to get our gardens planted.

  • hazelinok

    Perfect weather day. So excited about getting the wine bottle border completed on one of the flowerbeds in front of the house. It is so tidy now and ready to plant! I did put down some chicken wire so Finbar doesn't assume we've made him a nice new litterbox. This particular bed is mostly in the shade and stays pretty damp. I did add some fluffy soil. What to plant there....?

    I think it's funny how moms seem to often remind their sons to get a gift for their girlfriend/wife. Something I've recently noticed...probably because Ethan has a girlfriend now. I bought him stationery because he wrote a poem for his girlfriend for Valentines Day and wanted it to be handwritten on nice paper. He actually asked if we had any stationery around the house. Honestly I am surprised he knew what stationery is. Anyway...he got her a little stuffed animal and took her to Sonic for her favorite drink. She doesn't really get to traditionally date yet. She won't be 16 until this summer. She is allowed to come to our house or "date" in groups. AND she was able to go to Sonic with him, I guess, for Valentine's Day. That is almost a traditional date, isn't it?

    We--Tom and I--will celebrate Valentine's Day tomorrow. There's a place called the Owl Shoppe in Shawnee. It's supposed to have great vegetarian food, so we're going to try it out. He did give me a new outfit today.

    I am so thankful and impressed with those of you who take on so many pets. I can't imagine being able to afford 8 dogs! Our vet costs have nearly doubled in the past 2 years. There are cheaper places and I should try them out, I guess. Places like Tractor Supply...

    In the field, there is henbit in bloom and some bright yellow dandelions. I saw that the rhubarb is pushing up. I covered it with leaves.

    It's going to feel really cold tomorrow after today. It would have been nice to get more done outside, but I am thankful for finishing that one project. I can cross it off my list!

  • bon

    Dawn, maybe by "weak" it'll means the coastal areas get hit and we just get a cooler summer with just enough rain? keh

    HJ - Chicken wire: great idea! Cawwots, beets, tuwnips, chawd, spinach. Or ornamental that like some shade.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Bon, I'm glad you got to work outside in the warmth and sunshine before the cold weather comes roaring back in today. I see a lot of you are under a Winter Weather Advisory for ice. Blame El Nino! lol.

    Really, it has felt like El Nino all along, so I expect we'll keep seeing what we've already been seeing, not just in OK but across the country. California, for example usually gets a lot more rain during an El Nino. If you've been watching the weather news this week, you can see how this is playing out for them this winter.....massive flooding in some areas, levee breaches, roads washed away, mudslides occurring, including carrying houses downhill, etc. I know it is good for them to get heavy snowpack and rainfall to eventually fill up the reservoirs so they have water in reserve for the next drought, but what a rough way to get it. I saw a photo of a ski resort up in the Sierra Madre earlier this week and the plowed snow towered over the building, perhaps because they've had 35', yes, thirty-five feet, of snow there this winter. I cannot even imagine. I think this is the same place that got 10-12' of snow last week over a period of a couple of days.

    One way we Oklahomans tend to be affected by El Nino is that our spring severe weather often worsens. We'll see if that happens this year, and even if it does, maybe it won't worsen too much since this is only a weak El Nino. One thing I know for certain is that when my garden is too wet to plant onions at the usual time, we're having an El Nino. Here I sit with ground too wet to plant, waiting and waiting for it to dry up. Bingo! The last two El Ninos I remember well are 2015 and 2010. In 2010 I lost a very significant portion of the onion crop to the combination of cold weather and excessive soil moisture, but we fared somewhat better in 2015 because I had remembered 2010 and prepared a taller bed (sitting higher above grade level) for the onions. Still, a lot of the 2015 onions rotted too but I also had planted a whole lot more onions that year, so still had a lot of onions left even after losing a lot to excess moisture.

    Jennifer, Our vet bills and pet food bills have been horrendous some years, but that's just the price you pay for having a large fur baby family. We just cut back on expenses elsewhere. We are lucky to have a great vet practice which has really reasonable fees. Good vets are worth their weight in gold, and I feel so lucky that we have vets (it is a large group practice) that are so good at their job and still manage to charge reasonable fees.

    For that shady bed are you wanting ornamentals or edibles? For shade-type ornamentals I often plant balsam (raised from seed indoors and transplanted out), ornamental sweet potatoes, coleus and begonias. For edibles in similar shade, you can grow lettuce, kale and any other greens.

    Ethan's sweetheart is so lucky to have a sweet guy like him who wrote her a poem. I hope she is appreciative of that because guys like that are hard to find. I do think Sonic is almost a traditional date so maybe her family is loosening up a little and they might perhaps make further exceptions to the dating rule over the next couple of months.

    Nancy, It sounds like you were a whirlwind of activity and got a lot done! I feel like I haven't been very productive this week as I've been fighting a sore throat that probably is allergy related (those darned cedar trees and their pollen!). It doesn't feel severe like strep throat, certainly doesn't feel like the flu or even a cold, etc. but it sure has knocked my energy level down this week. Ironically, because I have been trying to baby my throat and keep the allergy drainage from going down into my lungs, I've just tried to take it easy, and what's easier than potting up all those tomato plants? So, my tomato plants are potted up from their starter cells in a flat to individual paper cups. It is early for that, but then usually I am running behind on potting up, so I feel relieved to have it done.

    In a peculiar way, it almost bothers me that winter fire season hasn't taken off yet----not that I want for it to start up, but it is inevitable that it will occur (March winds are our enemy in this regard) and the later it starts, the worse it tends to be because we have the fires compressed into a smaller time frame. We might luck out with these winter conditions and not have as bad of a fire season as usual. So far, the grass fires that have occurred have been fairly easy to control, other than 1 pretty rowdy one a few weeks back. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    If the rain keeps pounding us, most of my tomato plants will be planted in containers, and it has been a very long time since I've had to do that. I guess I need to start gathering together all the big containers and start filling them up because it is going to be quite an ordeal to get all of that done by planting time. Maybe this weekend I'll bring home bags of of pine bark fines, peat moss, etc. so I can make Al's 5-1-1 mix to fill the containers. If I start now, maybe I can get it done on time so the containers are ready whenever the weather finally settles down.

    I'm going to start some herb and flower seeds today. I have room for two more flats on the light shelf. Yippee.


  • Rebecca (7a)

    i have a med procedure this morning, and we are getting freezing rain. More worried about mom than myself.

  • dbarron

    Well, I just drove the car into the garage, after waiting about 20 minutes too late, as freezing precip had started. Oh well, it'lll dry off and so will I.

    My blue-eyed grass isn't blooming yet, but I noticed spring lycoris foliage, tulip (species), and a few other bulbs springing up, undeterred by last weeks 11F. Well, actually I see cold damage on the ones that were ALREADY up...if I'm honest.

    I'm thinking about sowing some today (inside of course).

    Have to tell an amusing story from yesterday. My mini Australian Shepherd, Denver, is about 33 lbs, which is what? about 3 x the weight class of the average house cat?

    I let Denver go with me yesterday evening out front (front isn't fenced and I live in town). The neighbor's cat charged him, and he ran back toward me (he's very timid). Cat stops as it nears me, and Denver reverses and chases cat off property. So...which one is the fraidy cat, or both?

  • Megan Huntley

    It has taken me all week but I'm finally caught up on this week's posts. I gave up on last week as I continued to see the comment tally climb on this one. My workload at work was heavy last year, to put it lightly and some work was redistributed to other people in my department this year. But that hasn't slowed things down and I'm being blindsided by people who want to use me as their workhorse while taking the credit. However, I'm no fool and while I'm not great at it, I'm getting better at playing the office politics game. I figure I have at least 25-30 years, maybe more, left in the workplace - depending on what the retirement age is when I finally get closer to that. If I have decades of this left, I better hone my political skills, I guess. When my workload is like this, I tend to pretty much collapse after dinner and don't get on the GWs. I've learned that while dinner is simmering on the stove or in the oven, I need to wash off my makeup because otherwise, I'll be too tired after dinner and probably end up just wiping it off or going to bed with it still on just to give you an idea how tired I've been lately.

    The talk of dogs and electric fences got me thinking about a dog I haven't thought of in a long time - a former neighbor's dog named CJ. He was an awesome dog! The houses were new construction and didn't have fences between them yet, but that didn't matter much because CJ was such a good dog, he pretty much stayed where he was supposed to. We had one of those friendships with the neighbor where he just came over and walked right in the back door and CJ did the same, except he scratched at the door. Anywho, before I met CJ he was more rambunctious in his puppy years. At their prior house they installed an invisible dog fence which works similarly to an electric fence but with a shock collar when the perimeter is crossed. As the neighbor told us, CJ would get excited and could tolerate the jolt running out the fence, but it wasn't worth it to get back in the yard. CJ would sit, waiting to get in, just outside the invisible barrier. LOL

    The shingles, Kim!?! Dagumit. I have no advice but hope you get to feeling better soon.

    HJ - you do want to make sure you get a male clone of the Pistache. My MIL has a female and we have a male. Hers is constantly dropping seeds and sending up babies. It's in a spot where they don't mind that and about once a season she goes in and pulls all of them out but that seems like a lot of work that could be avoided by getting a male. We have none of those problems with ours but still get all the pretty color. Whoever planted the trees in our yard loved fiery red fall color. We have 2 maples that are either Autumn Blaze or something similar and the pistache. Even all the Crepe Myrtles were a dark pink color so they obviously liked that palette.

    Patty - I saw the Master Gardeners picture on Red Dirt's facebook page and was so jealous. I would love to tour the place - heck, I'd like to go to work for them doing their marketing/PR but that's neither here nor there. I also wish I had the time to commit to the Master Gardener's volunteer requirement but that will have to wait for the someday when I do have that time.

    The daffodils around the corner that I've been monitoring will be blooming soon. If not for the cold blast late last week I think they would be now. They look like they should have stalks with buds on them but don't and I attribute that to the cold.

    I plan to start all the things this weekend. I normally direct sow my cool season because until this year, I didn't have lights for indoor starting and normally I'll start the direct sowing in mid- to late-February knowing that it's a possibility I'll lose the gamble. Since it's guaranteed that I'll lose that bet this year based on the extended forecast, and I have the means, I'm thinking of starting some of that stuff indoors. I aim for an April 1 planting date of my warm season and with the exception of last year, that has worked pretty well for me, so that's what I'm aiming for this year. If it turns out that April 1 is too soon for my warm season, I can find ways to keep them indoors until the weather cooperates, like we all did last year. I just can't see us having two Aprils like that though - especially in a row. I say that while acknowledging that this is Oklahoma and stranger things have happened with our weather.... Like 70* yesterday when I got home and freezing rain this morning, less than 12 hours later, when I got up. The wet weather we're having hasn't really impacted me. I grow my veg in containers so they're not too wet, in fact the garlic was on the brink of getting too dry, and I'm allergic to onions so those are never found in my yard.

    The cold... Apparently it froze one of the outdoor faucets on the house that I just had replaced last spring so I get to do that again once the weather is going to be warm enough. Of course it is the faucet that requires knocking out 4-6 bricks in order to get to it and last spring they had trouble finding that brick pattern again. They gave us a couple extra but we have no idea where they ended up. Needless to say I'm more than a little POed with this development. I vaguely recall going out one time this season and detaching the hose - but don't know if I left it or if it was the kiddo. I have had to hook up the hose 1-2 times this winter for various reasons and I may have forgotten to detach the hose. The kiddo did leave it hooked up once in the last couple weeks, after making even more mud for even more mud pies on a warm day, but I'm pretty sure I noticed before temps plummeted again. Regardless, the damage is done and nothing left to do now but to deal with it.

    Rain garden update.

    Of course with saturated heavy clay, the water penetration test was a joke. The area is basically a rain garden now without the garden part - just the mud - but years of debris washing to that corner of the yard has caused drainage issues. I plan to address those, without digging out a "true" rain garden and moving ahead with many of the plants I was already investigating. I have a want list running, but need to sit down with some drafting paper and figure out what I will grow for sure and how much so I can order seeds. I won't put anything in the ground this spring - maybe not until next spring, but I want to get them started in pots. I've had the best success with natives, especially the natives that are harder to start from seed, by starting them in containers in the spring before transplanting them either in the fall, if my gut tells me we'll have a late first freeze, or in the following spring once they're fully awake for the season.

    I have a three-day weekend due to President's Day and boy do I need it. I'll be a busy bee with the seed starting and don't we all just need a little extra rest now and then? I can feel it in my bones right now... I could use some lazy time. Hope all of you have pleasant weekends despite the cold while enjoying whatever it is you'll be up to, and once again Kim, get to feeling better!

  • bon

    Wind chill -19. Here we go again. I'll admit I should have been cutting wood instead of gardening.

  • bon

    It's headed your way, guys.

    Foreman let the boys off early. Bill was able to help us chop up some wood. Nice and toasty now.

    I shouldn't need to tell ya'll that this photo belongs to mesonet.org

  • luvncannin

    Thank you all for the well wishes. Laying dreaming about sspring planting. This is the most excruciating pain I have ever been in. The blisters seemed to have peaked so hopefully healing can begin. No work until I am completely healed.

  • hazelinok

    It's always good to hear from you, Megan. I love it when you make long posts. I'll look for a male Chinese Pistache. I have no idea how to do that, but it's time to start looking.

    Bon, thanks for the warning. It is cold here in Norman.

    Kim, hugs to you!

    Rebecca, hope your procedure went well and you're recovering comfortably.

    Thanks for the suggestions on my front flowerbed. It will be used for pretty things. It's small and I want to fill it up with colorful annuals each year. I could add some pretty kale too! I like the idea of begonias, coleus, and impatiens.

    Dawn, thanks for the kind words about Ethan. I still have so many concerns regarding him that it often wakes me in the middle of the night and I can't go back sleep. Maybe because he's a boy or maybe because he's the baby. I just don't know. I worry about him more than I worry about my daughter. (and she was a goofball as a teen--truly brilliant and advanced as a young child and did wonderfully well starting her third year in college. Those in-between years though. phew!) I think young men like Ethan are going to have a more difficult time in our world today. I won't say more than that on that topic.

    I'm so ready to get this house back in order (this weekend hopefully!) and get some seeds started and get to gardening! Our property and my garden looks so gross and junky. Once it's filled with green stuff--it won't look so bad. Someday it will have pretty fencing and such. Dreams. I love to dream.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Kim, Prayers for fast healing for you.

    Bon, Where would we be without our beloved OK Mesonet? It has all the most helpful info in so many different formats. I just love it.

    I'm glad Bill made it home in time to chop wood. Hopefully that wood will keep the stove fed and keep you all toasty warm. Maybe you coulda/woulda/shoulda been chopping wood, but we know that it wouldn't feed your soul the way that gardening does, so we totally get it.

    Your wind chill was bad and it was bad so much earlier than ours. The cold front didn't make it this far south until tonight, but we're plenty chilly now.

    Megan, If you need some time to just chill, then allow yourself to do that. I think when our bodies are telling us what it needs, we need to listen. With a three day weekend, you should have adequate time for chilling and seed starting. Enjoy your holiday weekend.

    dbarron, Maybe the cat and dog were just playing and neither is too much of a fraidy cat? I'm glad you got the car into the garage so you won't have to chisel ice off the windshield later.

    The plants don't seem as bothered by the cold as we do. I guess that's because they are out in it 24/7 and are somewhat better adapted to it perhaps.

    Rebecca, I hope the procedure went well and that you and your mom made it home just fine.

    Y'all, the models look like somebody is going to get some snow next week, but I do not necessarily think it will hit many of us unless something changes.

    We have an unexpected, last-minute bonus weekend with the older granddaughter this week as her dad is unavailable for his weekend with her. Well, his loss is our gain and we're going to enjoy having her here with us, though she might climb the walls a little bit without her little sis around to play with. Of course, we can do things we don't do when little sis is here, like maybe go to a more mature movie (something not G-rated) or to a restaurant that little sis doesn't like. Tomorrow will be just her day and she's already voiced her opinion on where we should eat lunch. : ) Before they called to see if she could come stay with us, I had thought I might do a little plant shopping or something tomorrow but I think instead we'll do something she'll enjoy. It still is pretty chilly to be buying plants, especially since the cold weather doesn't want to go away.

    I'm ready to do some gardening, but the weather isn't really right for it yet, especially with the persistently soggy soil.


  • jlhart76

    Is this verbena bonarenisis? Or sculpit? I know they're tiny, but they are in the pot where I had the verbena growing last year and the sculpit was right next to it. I don't want to weed them if they're not weeds.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    This is weird!! I signed into GW and it said I had 47 unread posts. WHAT???? So I clicked on it and then scrolled down, way down and there were a whole bunch of "new" ones from November and December. (I haven't checked them all, but I remember reading them, the ones I did click on. Anything like that ever happen to you all?

    dbarron: Good job, Denver! That was a funny video going through my mind. I got a good laugh. My Minneapolis family had a full-size Austrailian, blue merle with brown eyes. We all swore there would never be another better dog than Brisco. He was large for an Australian shepherd. What color is Denver?

    I'm supposed to be planting stuff that takes a while to germinate, so guess I better get going.

    Kim I am SO sorry!!! Have you been to doctor?

    I'm grumpy about the cold weather, Bon. But am trying to relax and enjoy reading and puttering around planting a seed here, one there. It was a very good thing to actually clean the house. :) I also realize that puttering is something people with jobs and kids don't get to do.

    I was pleased to see one little asparagus fern seedling up. I hope I'll see several more in the next day or 2 or 3.

    Do you feel better with this medical procedure, Rebecca? Hope so!

    Dawn, I bet the time will fly and spring will be here before you know it, since you are going to have your lives so full with four house guests! And that's a good thing, with this weather, don't you agree?

    I'm happy for you that you can get the house back in order maybe this weekend, Jennifer. My coleus and NG impatiens were a major fail last year. The coleus quit growing when the heat set in, and some nasty cursed pest ate all 14 of the impatiens to the nub. Japanese beetles? Those seemed to be what I saw the most of. I never actually saw anything on the impatiens.

    And Megan, yes, the enormity of trying to catch up with OKGW with your schedule. Again, thinking back to when I was working full-time and then some.

    Speaking of planting stuff, I believe I need to go take a little nap and then fix dinner. LOL Blessings to you all. Nah, I actually did get everything planted I was planning on. I kinda like this planting a few at a time.

  • dbarron

    Nancy, Denver is a fairly typical Tri. I bet I can find a face shot of him.

    Jhart76, those three aren't v. bonariensis, which is typically perennial in our zone.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Wow, dbarron, what a cutie!!! I am a die-hard Australian shepherd fan. Denver is BEAUTIFUL! Timid or not. LOL

  • dbarron

    Yep, most purebred Aussies really catch the eye, especially those with merle genes. I love the personality,intelligence, obedience of the breed. Best dogs ever...though I will say I feel that way about most of the herding breeds. I really don't understand people that try to make a house pets out of hunting dogs (like hounds, beagles, labs,etc).

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Jen, I don't know what they are, but they aren't verbena bonariensis. You can see a young verbena bonariensis seedling in the link below.

    Seedling Identification

    Nancy, I don't pay any attention to those notifications so can't say how reliable they are or aren't. I just come here to this page and start reading from the top down, at least until I run out of time or run out of things I haven't read yet.

    Time has flown this weekend. Chris is stopping by on his way home from work any minute now to pick up Lillie, so the house soon will be temporarily quieter (for one more week, I believe) and maybe I'll get some things on my To Do list done. We've had fun though. Took her to lunch at her favorite restaurant and she had such a good time. Often, when we have both girls everything has to be a compromise between the two of them, but when we have just one of them, she gets to choose where we eat, what movie to go to if we're doing that, etc.

    Our climate is hard on coleus. What works for me is to grow them in large containers at the west end of the garden. They are in sun until about 11 a.m. and then in shade the rest of the day. They grow just fine and don't burn up in the heat. But, there's a trick to it. I only use the coleus bred for sunshine, not the older ones that cannot tolerate much sunlight. The sun coleus seem much more tolerant of sunlight, heat and dry soil than the old standard ones. I don't know if the sun coleus would tolerate a full day of sun in our climate, but they'll tolerate a morning of full sun. As long as I remember to occasionally pinch back the tips, they don't flower too early and go to seed either.

    dbarron, Denver is beautiful. Our favorite 3 dogs that we've had in our lives all were Australian shepherds, and all three were so smart and mostly obedient. One of them, Lady, who was our first Australian shepherd (around 1988 or 1989) liked to try to herd us, bumping us gently with her legs to guide us in the direction she wanted to go. It always made me laugh, and I'd jokingly tell her "you are not the boss of me". She lived with us for 19 years, but already was an adult when we got her so I have no idea how old she actually was at the end of her life.

    Have a good day. I'm going to try to get the new thread for this week started in a minute.


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